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THE PASSIONATE SIGHTSEER 



Masaccio: ‘Tribute Muncy* ( 7 . 14 .'.5-7, detail), Santa Maria del Carmine, Florence ► 




BERNARD BERENSON 


The PASSIONATE 
SIGHTSEER 

from the diaries 1947 to 1956 

PREFACE BY RAYMOND MORTIMER. 

168 illustrations in photogravure 
4 plates in full colour 

1 £ SsM 

(T&H THAMES AND HUDSON * LONDON 

V§23/ 



@ ESTATE OF BI-RNAKI) BLKLNSON 
AND THAMES AND HUDSON LONDON i960 
PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN 

BY WESTERN PRINTING SERVICES LTD BRISTOL 
AND JARROLD AND SONS LTD NORWICH 

THIS BOOK MUST NOT BE OFFERED FOR SALE IN, 

OR IMPORTED INTO, THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 



Contents 


List of Illustrations 

PAor 

6 

Photographic Sources 

13 

Preface 

15 

Rome May T947 to June 1955 

17 

Venice July 1951 to June 1954 

37 

Sicily May to J une T95 3 

65 

Tripoli and Leptis Magna May 1955 

129 

Calabria June 1955 

141 

The Romagna September 1955 

161 

Florence June to July 1956 

169 

Notes 

193 

Index 

194 



List of Illustrations 


COLOUR PLATES FACING PAGE 


I Masaccio: ‘Tribute Money’ {c. 1425-7, detail), Santa Maria del 

Carmine, Florence (frontispiece) 3 

II Apse of Sant’Apollinare in Classe, Ravenna, with the ‘Trans- 

figuration’ in mosaic (middle of sixth century A.D.) 160 

III ‘The Emperor Justinian I with his Suite and Archbishop 
Maximian’, mosaic (middle of sixth century A.D.), San 
Vitale, Ravenna 16 1 

BLACK-AND-WHITE ILLUSTRATIONS PAGE 

1 Aqueduct of Claudius (photo c. 1880) 17 

2 Distant view of the Vatican and St Peter’s (photo c. 1880) 18 

j The Roman Campagna (beginning of the twentieth century) 1 9 

4 Santa Maria in Cosmedin, Rome 20 

5 Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome 21 

6 Atrium of San Lorenzo fuori le Mura, Rome 22 

7 Temple of Fortune, Palestrina 23 

8 Roman relief (fourth century a.d.), Palazzo Sacchetti, Rome 24 

9 Francesco Salviati: Decorative fresco, Palazzo Sacchctti, Rome 25 

10 The Holy Child, Santa Maria in Aracoeli, Rome 27 

11 After a design by Raphael: Jonah, Santa Maria del Popolo, 

Rome 28 

12 Tomb of a Princess of the Odescalchi Chigi family, Santa Maria 

del Popolo, Rome 29 

13 ‘Life on the Nile’, detail of a mosaic, Palestrina Museum 31 

14 Detail of a wall painting from the Villa of Livia, Museo delle 

Termc, Rome 32 

15 Tcpidarium, Baths of Caracalla, Rome 33 

1 6 Michelangelo: Moses (detail), San Pietro in Vincoli, Rome 35 

17 Cardo degli Aurighi, Ostia 36 



PAGE 


18 ‘The Tower of Babel’, mosaic in the atrium, San Marco, Venice 37 

19 Cloister at San Francesco del Dcscrto, Lagoon of Venice 38 

20 San Francesco del Deserto, Lagoon of Venice 39 

21 Sixteentlvcentury cloister at San Giorgio Maggiore (Giorgio 

Cini Foundation), Venice 40 

22 Dormitory in the former Monastery, San Giorgio Maggiore 

(Giorgio Cini Foundation), Venice 41 

23 Lorenzo Lotto: ‘Miracle of St Clare’, fresco. Oratorio Suardi, 

Trescore 42 

24 Lorenzo Lotto: ‘Death of Absalom’, tarsia, Santa Maria 

Maggiore, Bergamo 43 

25 Lorenzo Lotto: ‘St Jerome in the Wilderness’, Louvre, Paris 45 

26 Francesco di Giorgio: Palazzo del Govcrno, lesi 46 

27 Santa Casa, Loreto 47 

28 Campo San Moise, Venice, as it was 49 

29 Campo San Moise, Venice, as it is 49 

30 Tintoretto: ‘Temptation of Christ’ (detail), Scuola di San 

Rocco, Venice 50 

31 Tintoretto: ‘Christ before Pilate’ (detail), Scuola di San Rocco, 

Venice 51 

32 Tintoretto: ‘Flight into Egypt’ (detail), Scuola di San Rocco, 

Venice 53 

33 Titian: ‘Martyrdom of St Lawrence’, Gcsuiti, Venice 55 

34 Cathedral and Santa Fosca, Torccllo, Lagoon of Venice 56 

35 Interior of Santa Fosca, Torccllo, Lagoon of Venice 57 

36 Byzantine pilaster and capital, San Marco, Venice 58 

37 Side entrance, San Marco, Venice 59 

38 ‘Alexander the Great ascending to Heaven’, Byzantine relief, 

San Marco, Venice 60 

39 Porphyry head of a Byzantine Emperor, San Marco, Venice 61 

40 Gentile Bellini: Mosaic on the facade of San Marco (detail of 

‘The Corpus Christi Procession’), Accadcmia, Venice 62 

41 St Luke, detail of the Pala d’Oro, San Marco, Venice 6 3 

42 Fagade of the Chicsa dei Minori Osscrvanti, Palazzolo Acrcide 65 



PAGE 

43 The Straits of Messina 66 

44 The Sea-front, Messina (before 1908) 67 

45 Montorsoli: Fountain of Orion (1550), Messina 68 

46 Central porch of Messina Cathedral 69 

47 Antoncllo da Messina: ‘Portrait of a Man’, Ccfalu Museum 71 

48 Antoncllo da Messina: ‘Crucifixion’ (detail), Sibiu Museum 72 

49 Antoncllo da Messina: ‘Crucifixion’ (1475, detail), Musec 

Royal, Antwerp 73 

50 Greek Theatre, Taormina 75 

51 Mantegna: ‘Agony in the Garden’, National Gallery, London 76 

52 General view with the Rocca di Mola, Taormina 77 

53 General view, Agira 78 

54 General view, Genturipc 79 

55 General view of Calascibetta from Hnna 81 

56 Plead of a horse, detail of a mosaic (fourth century A.D.), Casalc 82 

57 Plead of a buffalo, detail of a mosaic (fourth century a.d.), Casale 83 

58 After a design by Botticelli: Embroidered cope (detail), Musco 

Poldi Pczzoli, Milan 84 

59 Embroidered cope. Cathedral Museum (not University), Perugia 85 

60 Female athletes, detail of a mosaic (fourth century A.D.), Casale 87 

61 Fraticcsco Laurana: Eleonora of Aragon, Museo Nazionalc, 

Palermo 88 

62 Francesco Laurana: Madonna (r. 1474), Chiesa dei Minori 

Osservanti, Palazzolo Acreide 89 

63 Edward Brandard: ‘View from Fort Labdalon, Syracuse’, cn-' 

graving 90 

64 Spring of Arethusa, Syracuse 91 

65 Fragment of a laver, Museo Mcdioevale, Palazzo Bcllomo, 

Syracuse 92 

66 Left aisle of the Cathedral with columns from the Temple of 

Athena, Syracuse 93 

67 Early Christian sarcophagus, Museo Archcologico, Syracuse 94 

68 Balconies of the Palazzo Villadorato, Noto 95 

69 Cathedral of San Giorgio, Ragusa Ibla 96 



PAGE 


70 Church of San Giorgio, Modica 97 

71 Tcatro Comunale and Chicsa della Madonna dclle Grazic, 

Vittoria 99 

72 John Couscn: ‘Temple Area, Agrigento, from the South’, 

engraving 100 

73 Arthur Willmorc: ‘Temple of Concord, Agrigento’, engraving 100 

74 Limoges casket in the sacristy of Agrigento Cathedral (twelfth 

century') 101 

75 Head of a giant from the Temple of Zeus, Agrigento Museum 102 

7 6 Head of a giant from the Temple of Zeus, Agrigento Museum 102 

77 Sarcophagus of Phaedra in the sacristy of Agrigento Cathedral 

(third century R.c.) 103 

78 Altar of the Ghthonic Deities, Agrigento 104 

79 Peristyle of the Temple of Concord, Agrigento 105 

80 Francesco Laurana: Madonna, Sciacca 106 

81 Palazzo ‘Lo Steripinto’, Sciacca 107 

82 Kouros from Sclinuntc, Municipio, Castelvetrano 108 

83 Gastello, Erice 109 

84 Roman sarcophagus with ‘Meleager hunting the Galydonian 

Boar’ (second century A.D.), Mazzara del Vallo Cathedral 109 

85 John Couscn: ‘Distant View of the Temple, Segesta’, civ 

graving no 

86 Temple with Monte Varvaro, Segesta in 

87 School of Nino Pisano: Madonna, with ex-wotos, Santuario 

dell’Annunziata, Trapani 112 

88 School of Nino Pisano: Madonna, without exwotos, Santuario 

dell’Annunziata, Trapani 1 r 2 

89 Baroque staircase in the former Convent of the Annunziata 

(Museo Pepoli), Trapani 113 

90 Mosaic in Roger’s Apartment, Palazzo Rcale, Palermo 114 

91 Oriental ceiling, Cappclla Palatina, Palermo 115 

92 Interior of Monrealc Cathedral 116 

93 Capitals with the ‘Annunciation’, Cloister of the Benedictines, 

Monreale 117 



PAGE 


94 Capitals with ‘William II offering the Church to the Madonna', 

Cloister of the Benedictines, Monreale 1 1 7 

95 ‘The Rape ofEuropa’, metope from Sclinuntc, Museo Nazionalc, 

Palermo 1 1 8 

96 ‘Artemis and Actaeon’, metope from Selinunte, Museo Nazkv 

nalc, Palermo 119 

97 ‘The Triumph of Death’ (detail), fresco, Palazzo Abbatelli, 

Palermo 1 20 

98 Porphyry socle on the Tomb of Frederick II, Palermo Cathedral 121 

99 Decorative sculptures, Villa Palagonia, Bagheria 122 

100 Chapel of the Villa Palagonia, Bagheria 123 

101 Palazzo della Zisa, Palermo 124 

102 John Cousen: ‘View of Old Palermo’, engraving 125 

103 Edward Brandard: ‘The Old Promenade, Palermo’, engraving 125 

104 Entrance to the Grotto of St Rosalia, Monte Pellegrino, Palermo 127 

105 View of Palermo w'ith the Cathedral and Monte Pellegrino 128 

106 Head of Neptune, mosaic, Tripoli Museum 129 

107 Patio, Sanict Volpi, Tripoli 131 

108 Oasis'garden, Saniet Volpi, Tripoli 131 

109 Theatre, Sabratha 132 

no Great floor mosaic, Sabratha 133 

hi Bernard Bcrcnson in the ‘push-cart’ at Leptis Magna, escorted 

by Ernesto Vergara Caffarclli 134 

1 12 Forum of Septimius Severus, Leptis Magna 135 

1 13 Basilica of Septimius Severus, Leptis Magna 135 

1 14 Decorative tendril from a pilaster, Basilica of Septimius Severus, 

Leptis Magna 136 

1 15 Theatre, Leptis Magna 137 

116 Arch of Marcus Aurelius, Tripoli 138 

1 17 Relief from Ghirza (sixth century a.d.), Tripoli Museum 1 39 

r 18, 1 19 Crouching figure in ivory, probably Alexandrine (second 

century a.d.), Tripoli Museum 140 

120 San Marco, Rossano Calabro 141 

121 Greek wig in bronze (fifth century B.C.), Reggio Museum 142 


10 



PAGF. 

122 Greek head in marble (fifth century B.c.), Reggio Museum 143 

123 Archaic Greek votive tablet from Locri, Reggio Museum 144 

124 Archaic Greek votive tablet from Locri, Reggio Museum 145 

125 Edward Lear: ‘View of Reggio’, lithograph 147 

126 Edward Lear: ‘View of Scilla’, lithograph 148 

127 Edward Lear: ‘View of Geracc’, lithograph 149 

128 Gcrace Cathedral 150 

129, 130 Byzantine enamelled cross, Bishop’s Palace, Coscnza 15 1 

13 1 Head of the Madonna, detail from the Tomb of Isabella of 

Aragon, Cosenza Cathedral 152 

132 Tomb of Isabella of Aragon, Cosenza Cathedral 153 

133 Chicsa Madrc, Alto monte Calabro 155 

134 Santa Maria del Padrion, near Rossano Calabro 156 

135 Tomb of Filippo Sangineto, Chiesa Madrc, Altomonte Calabro 157 

136 Mosaic floor (detail), Santa Maria del Padrion, near Rossano 

Calabro 159 

137 Sant’ Apollinare in Classe, Ravenna 161 

138 Mosaic in the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, Ravenna 162 

139 Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, Ravenna 163 

140 Facade of the Tcmpio Malatesdano, Rimini 165 

141 West wall of the Tempio Malatcstiano, Rimini 166 

142 Giovanni Boldini: Sketch for a portrait, Museo Boldini, Ferrara 167 

143 Giovanni Boldini: Sketch for a portrait, Museo Boldini, Ferrara 167 

144 Pomposa Abbey 168 

145 Master of the Castello ‘Nativity’: ‘Annunciation’, San Giovatv 

nino dei Cavalieri, Florence 169 

146 Paolo Uccello: ‘The Drunkenness of Noah’ (detail), detached 

fresco from the Chiostro Verde, Santa Maria Novella, Florence 170 

147 Master of the Castello ‘Nativity’: ‘Miracle of St Benedict’, 

detached fresco from the cloisters of the Badia, Florence 171 

148 Master of the Castello ‘Nativity’: Leading lines under the 

‘Miracle of St Benedict’, Badia, Florence 171 

149 Bronzino: ‘Laura Battiferri’, Loeser Bequest, Palazzo Vccchio, 

Florence 1 72 


11 



PAGE 


150 Tino di Camaino: Angel, Loeser Bequest, Palazzo Vecchio, 

Florence 172 

15 1 Sala dei Gigli after restoration, Palazzo Vecchio, Florence 173 

152 Studiolo of Eleonora after restoration, Palazzo Vecchio, 

Florence 175 

153 Daniele da Vol terra: Bust of Michelangelo, Museo Buonarroti, 

Florence 176 

154 Michelangelo: ‘Pieta’ (detail), Florence Cathedral 177 

155 Masaccio: ‘The Holy Trinity with two Donors’, fresco, Santa 

Maria Novella, Florence 179 

156 Lorenzo Monaco: ‘Marriage of the Virgin’ (detail), fresco, 

Santa Trinita, Florence 180 

157 Lorenzo Monaco: ‘Nativity of the Virgin’ (detail), fresco, Santa 

Trinita, Florence 180 

158 Loggia, Museo Horne, Florence 181 

159 Donatello: Cantoria (detail), Opera del Duomo, Florence 182 

160 Luca della Robbia: Cantoria (detail). Opera del Duomo, 

Florence 183 

161 Michelangelo: Prisoner, Accademia, Florence 184 

162 Michelangelo: ‘Palestrina Pieta’, Accademia, Florence 185 

163 Paolo Uccello: Fragment of a fresco, San Miniato, Florence 186 

164 Pulpit, San Miniato, Florence 187 

165 Main entrance of the Fortezza del Belvedere, Florence 189 

166 Loggia of San Martino alia Palma, Scandicci 190 

167 Andrea del Castagno: ‘Eve’, fresco, Villa Carducci, Legnaia 191 

168 Medieval inscription, San Martino alia Palma, Scandicci 19- 





Photographic Sources 


Dr. S. L. Agnello, Syracuse, 62 

Alinati, Florence, it, 12, 20, 25, 26, 27, 30, 41, 43, 44, 45, 46, Gi, 65, 67, 77, 83, 101, 
104, 156, 157, 158, 159 

Anderson, Rome, 4, 5, to, 13, 15, 16, 18, 31, 33, 36, 39, 47, 50, 51, 78, 90, 91,93,94, 
95 * 96, 98, 105, 1 37 » 1 38, 1 39 , 144, 160, 164 
Assessorato Turismo Siciliano, Palermo, 56 
Bazzechi, Florence, 165 

Bernard Berenson, Florence, 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 19, 23, 32, 58, 59, 63, 72, 73, 80, 85, 102, 103, 
107, 108, in, 1 14, 125, 126, 127, 129, 130, 149, 162, 168 
Osvaldo Bdhm, Venice, 29, 34, 35, 38, 40 
Brogi, Florence, 37, 84, 87, 150, 153* 154, 161 
Dirczione Civici Musei, Venice, 28 
Fnte Provincialc Turismo, Ragusa, 69, 70 
Hntc Provincialc Turismo, Reggio di Calabria, 136 
Fnte Provincialc Turismo, Trapani, 82 
Fondazionc Giorgio Cini, Venice, 21 
Fototcca Unione, Rome, 6, 7 
Gabinetto Fotografico Nazionalc, Rome, 17, 49 
G. Di Giovanni, Noto, 68 
Gino Guisti, Florence, 145 
Prof. Max Hirmer, Munich, 11 , III 
Elisabeth Z. Kelcmcn, Norfolk, Conn., 52, 55, too 
Fosco Maraini, Rome, 79, 92 
Maltese, Syracuse, 42 
Morettifilm, Rimini, 140, 141 
Mostra Antonclliana, Messina, 48 
Museo Boldini, Fcrara, T42, 143 
Musco Civico Archcologico, Agrigento, 74, 75, 76, 81 
Museo Pepoli, Trapani, 88, 89 

Dr. Alfred Nawrath, Bremen, and Anton Schroll and Co., Vienna, 54, 64, 66, 86, 99 
A. Paoletti, Milan, 24 

Soprintcndcnza alle Antichita, Reggio di Calabria, T21, 122, 123, 124, 128 
Soprintcndenza alle Antichita, Rome, 14 
* Soprintendcnza alle Antichita, Syracuse, 57, 60 

Soprintendenza alle Gallcrie, Florence, 146, 147, 148, 155, 163, 166, 167 
■ I Soprintendcnza alle Gallerie della Sicilia, Palermo, 97 

Soprintendenza ai Monumcnti e Scavi in Libia, Tripoli, to 6 , 109, 1 10, 1 12. 1 1 3,. 1 1 5, 116, 

117,118,119 

Soprintendcnza ai Musei Civici, Florence, 151, 152 
Stabilimento Poligrafico Alterocca S. A., Terni, 120 
; Bruno Stefani, Milan, 131, 132, 133, 135 
Touring Club Italiano, Milan, 53, 71, 134 
J Gugliclmo Visentini, Venice, 22 


n 



To Freya Stark with affectionate admiration 



Preface 


I N 1889, Berenson tells us, Ravenna seemed at the bottom of the sea of time, 
almost as silent as the grave: a footfall made an echo. Most of the other places 
in which he kept these diaries had similarly been visited by him sixty^seven years 
earlier; and by comparing his latest impressions with his first he keeps reminding 
us of this fact, which is not only singular but relevant. Nobody has ever before 
written about visual art from so long an experience. Nor indeed can I think of 
any previous author (except possibly the French philosopher, Fontcnellc) who 
prepared for publication writings composed at the age of ninety^two. Berenson 
had corrected the proofs of this book when death overtook his delicate frame 
and persistent curiosity. 

‘The older I get, the more do 1 feel and appreciate Botticelli* (of whom he had 
talked with Pater in person). ‘1 feel as if it had taken me all these years from 1888 
to learn to appreciate Venice fully.’ Those whom the gods love do not die young: 
they live to be old, remaining quick to learn and to feel. But they arc few, and 
need to be wise as well as fortunate. 

Our diarist not merely acquired unique experience: he enjoyed it intensely. 
He made himself a paragon of learning, but he remained first and foremost a 
voluptuary. ‘A rational voluptuary* (I quote Gibbon) ‘adheres with invariable 
respect to the temperate dictates of nature*; and Berenson was not merely rational 
but fastidious in the extreme. His greed was confined to the pleasures of thinking, 
of reading, of talking, and above all of using his eyes. What he sought in the arts 
was the enhancement of life. As an art 'historian he explored and mapped the 
foothills in order to intensify his understanding and enjoyment of the peaks. As 
these journals make clear, he responded with no less gusto and delicacy to the 
beauties of nature than to artefacts. A dawn in Taormina brought him ‘sheer 
visual happiness’ such as only a Wordsworth could have expressed in words. 
During the visit to Tripolitania here described I watched with envy his rap/' 
turous, physical delight in trees and flowers no less than in the huge majesty of 
Leptis. 

This passion for the visible world underlay his aesthetic preferences and 
theories. He exalted ‘tactile values* in painting, 1 believe, because they brought 
beauty as it were within his grasp. Although he wrote the earliest eulogy of 
Cezanne in English (before this century began) and was among the first charm 


1 5 



pions of Matisse, he rebuked some idolized modern artists — not for lack of talent 
but for its misuse. He thus, I think regrettably, alienated many who would 
otherwise relish his writings. The criticism of Picasso (and even of Seurat) may 
be partly explained by his comments here upon Goethe’s blindness to medieval 
art: ‘Even the most gifted of us can never get much beyond what he was taught 
to understand in his formative years/ But more influential upon his taste was a 
veneration for the beauties of Nature, and in particular of the human body, 
which modern painters so often seem to detest. 

What Bercnson loved best was the art of classical Greece, and after that the 
art of the Italian Renaissance that pursues a similar end. This might roughly be 
defined as the golden mean between realism and idealization. The artist creates 
images of the visible world free from the imperfections by which this is flawed in 
actuality: Aphrodite and Apollo become more beautiful than any creature 
without stiffening into idols detached from the flesh. Many of the supreme 
artists — Byzantine, Romanesque, Chinese, Flemish, Spanish, Dutch, early 
Italian and nineteentlvcentury French — have been inspired by aims different 
from this; and Bcrenson responded with enthusiasm to their achievements. His 
collection includes early Chinese bronzes and a number of pictures by the 
Sienese Primitives. In his youth, however, the Greeks captured his heart once 
and for all: it leapt whenever he could detect their influence in any work, Roman, 
Etruscan, Byzantine, even Gothic. Some readers familiar with his research into 
Trecento painting may be surprised by the relish in these diaries for the Settecento. 
In his attachment to the classical world he was himself a man of the eighteenth 
century. 

The diaries of a writer so famous everywhere require no preface. But Bercnson 
is sometimes thought of chiefly as an expert unrivalled in his science; and these 
halting comments may possibly help to correct any such misconception. In any 
case they arc intended above all as a homage to a man infatuated with the beauty 
of nature and of art. 


RAYMOND MORTIMER 



Rome May 1947 to June 19 55 



1 Aqueduct of Claudius (photo c. 1880) 


17 




2 Distant view of the Vatican and St Peter's (photo c . 1880) 


May 7, 1947 I knew a Rome where country not only embraced town but invaded it almost 
to Piazza di Spagna. From the terrace before San Giovanni in Laterano the 
fields stretched uncontaminated, with only an ancient wineshop here and there, 
to the Sleeping Beauty of the Alban hills. Now the eye beholds the hideous 
pelhmell of one of the most squalidly pretentious suburbs on the continent. It 
invades and spoils the solitude of what was the Campagna, and even disturbs 
the remains of romantic ruins like those on the Via Appia or the Antique tombs 
of the Porta Latina. The Pyramid of Cestius looks like an ancient dame in a 
brothel. The asphalted Via Appia has become drearily unevocative. 

May 20, 1947 To the Pallavicini Collection, chiefly in order to see the Botticelli again, the 
woman with head in her hands, seated on a stone bench outside a massive 
palace with closed doors. 1 Doubtless end of a cassone , the other short end of 
which, as well as sides, have not yet been identified. Once more its drawing, its 
line, its colour even, its expression of utter abandonment penetrated me to the 


18 



19 



4 Santa Maria in Cosmcdin, Rome 


depths of the soul. Indeed the older I get the more do I feel and appreciate 
Botticelli. His art seems to reach the pinnacle of what for me is draughtsman* 
ship, the functional line, the contour that sings, the loveliness of the envelope 
enclosing shapes so caressingly. His young women can have the tender and 
appealing charm of the most refined Watteaus but without the least touch of the 
grisette or the machine a plaisir. 

May 26, 1947 Santa Maria in Cosmedin restored to aspect of what is supposed to be a 
Christian basilica of the early Middle Ages. Composed as a cento made out of 
Antique columns, capitals, marble screens of so*called Lombard period, Cos* 
mati floors and pierced windows making a chequered pattern. None of it 
offends me while the restored frescoes do. Is it then that restorations in my own 
field distress me because I feel their falsity, and that architect*archaeologists feel 
the same about restorations in their domain? Scarcely, for in architecture restora* 


20 






5 Santa Maria Maggiorc, Rome 


tions can be made that annoy through over/mcticulousness and preconceived 
schemes and not as in my field where I encounter gross misrepresentations and 
inferiority of execution. The worst about these restored basilicas is their empti' 
ness, their look as if they served to show off the restorer's skill, rather than to 
impress as temples of the Lord. 

Loafed about Santa Maria Maggiore enjoying the gorgeous space of the nave, November 2, t^jfj 

the perspective of the columns, the splendour of the great chapels. Surely the 

magnificence, the sumptuousness of the Roman churches (and to a certain 

extent and degree of all Italian churches) must inspire those who frequent them 

with admiration and aspiration without the envy that might be roused if they 

were being shown a similar display in private palaces. No matter how untaught, 

people cannot move around in these churches without its influencing their 

outlook on the universe and without furnishing them with standards and values. 


21 






m 





6 Atrium of San Lorenzo fuori le Mura, Rome 

November 13, 1947 Difficult to fathom the satisfaction it gives me to wander about and look and 
look, in and out of churches, examining everything, every bit of pavement, 
every sepulchral monument, every bust, every painting. And the ruins, how 
they fascinate and puzzle me. What did the buildings of which they formed 
part look like? Is it my imagination that finds in them reminders of a noble past? 
Are my feelings about them the mere piling up of sentiments and habits of 
adoration, formed in my earliest years? How pius I have been and yet, if I am 
known at ill, it is as a destructive, heartless critic. 

October 8, 1930 At San Lorenzo fuori le Mura. Enjoyed the exquisite, crisp, vital carving of 
Antique fragments as well as of medieval frieze over porch, and the same 
qualities in the flutings of the columns and the carving of Antique capitals. 
Is it really life-enhancing in an almost physiological way (as I believe) or merely 
pleasure in what through use and wont for so many years one has got accustomed 
to, and one has learned to enjoy or got into the habit of enjoying— the way one 
enjoys ‘mother’s cooking’ when one returns to it? Perhaps there is a good bit of 









Temple of Fortune, 
Palestrina 



all that in my enjoyment of the Antique workmanship as well as in the ideated 
sensations they convey to me. 1 enjoy ruins for the same reason and groups of 
pelhmell buildings that compose picturesquely. 

To the excavations of Palestrina accompanied by an American archaeologist October 11 , 
and friend. 1 observed that the vast structure contained elements of different 
epochs but he assured me it was built of a piece and on a definite design. He 
went on to say that the Latin Cyclopean walls, even those at Alatri, were no 


23 



8 Roman relief 
(fourth century a.d.), 
Palazzo Sacchetti, Rome 


earlier than circa 200 b.c. and built in that way for aesthetic reasons. The possi- 
bility of such a motive seemed unlikely to me and we concluded that it must 
have been for magical reasons. The safety of a town may have depended on 
every stone being of a certain size and trimming, just as in Latin ritual every 
syllable had to be uttered in such-and-such a way because otherwise it would 
have lost its power to compel the numen to do its bidding. 

October 12, ig$o I know no geometrical shape as perfect as the dome of St Peter's. The least 
attempt to anthropomorphize it would end in caricature or puerility like turning 
a human face into a football or seeing a human face in the full moon. (And yet 
in the Arab-speaking world there is no higher compliment to beauty than to 
say, ‘Her face is like the moon on its fourteenth day'.) I sympathize with the 
tendency to geometrize objects, including animals and even humans, and 
approve of a compromise. The real problem, apart from technique, is to find 
the exact compromise between geometry and representation. 

October 25, 15750 To an exhibition of drawings by Seurat. His whole bag of tricks is that his 
notation — rather like Carriere's— consists of picking objects out of a mist. In 
Carriere's case it is a real foggy dimness even in interiors, while Seurat seems 
to see everything through a cheese-cloth or canvas. As a matter of fact, an easy 
but also a cheap way of getting plastic effects. To hail Seurat as discoverer of 


2 4 





■Si 

9 Francesco Salviati: Decorative fresco, Palazzo Sacchctti, Rome 

form, as a creator of vision, is utterly unjustified. A new or merely unhackneyed 
notation is not necessarily a new vision. Today some new trick of notation 
suffices to mark a painter as a great artist. 

To Palazzo Sacchetti which I had never visited before. The show-piece a hall October 2 9, 1950 

frescoed by Salviati. Interesting the Pompeian device of a triptych represented 

as if hanging like a picture on a wall. Salviati must have seen something like 

this in Rome, for Pompeii, where frescoes of that type occur so often, was still 

buried and undreamt of. Most interesting also, on the entrance floor a Roman 

relief which architecturally is of the fourth century while the figures decidedly 

recall earlier centuries . 2 

25 




October $i, igc>o 


November 6 f ig$o 


October 18 , njy 


October 27, igj2 


I first came to Rome in the autumn of 1888 and spent the following months 
on my feet from early morning till bedtime. Caffe latte cost me five soldi. Often 
had no lunch but munched chestnuts and found them very comforting, and in 
my pocket they warmed my hands. Used to dine at the Concordia with a lot 
of jolly Scandinavians like Christian Ross, and an Englishman, Mr Davies. 
I slept in the studio of an acquaintance who rented a trestle bed to me. Except 
for this group of artists I knew nobody, nor did it occur to me to want to know 
anybody. Looking was enough and reading, but mostly looking. Here, as in 
Paris and London, I lived more inwardly than outwardly, although I was 
active enough. What went on inside me, not always perceived by me, counted 
as real and satisfactory. 

At the Aracocli, fascinated by a chapel crowded with fervent worshippers of an 
infant Osiris, a baby face, the rest of it all covered in sparkling jewels. I love 
dolls. The bedizening of this one appealed to the child in me. I am aware of 
what is going on in me, and know that my feeling is artistic, playful. But the 
worshippers -are they not, unbeknown to themselves, inspired by similar 
feelings, perhaps even to a greater extent? Since every manner of thing has been 
explored and pedantized, no doubt German writers have published tome upon 
tome on the psychology of religious worship. None have come my way. 
I would like to write about it from my own experience of long ago, still bright 
in my memory. 

In the heroic and court ages people were entertained by ‘solemn music', by a 
definite ritual, be it lay or ecclesiastic and artists knew what was expected from 
them. Not so today. Entertainment is reduced either to mere time-killing or to 
the excitement of novelty, to the craving for otherness. Nevertheless these are the 
only arts still alive for which there is a positive demand and that offer great 
rewards. Witness the cinema and the songster of the day who hits the public on 
its funny-bone. Cheap, shoddy, journalistic as they are they yet arc real, answer 
to a real need, to something craved for. They may serve as soil and humus for 
genius, while there is at present nothing to be hoped for from the activities of 
most visual artists with their denial of their own art, which has always been and 
always will be of representation and not (except incidentally) of abstraction. 

Drove yesterday from Piazza Venezia to Palazzo Tavcrna on Monte Giordano. 
Could recognize familiar objects as we passed them and the distance seemed 
the usual one. From Palazzo Taverna to Piazza del Popolo along the dimly-lit 
Tiber the distance seemed endless. Was it because I could not make out at 
every step just where we were? Our sense of distance would seem to depend on 


26 




10 The Holy Child, 

Sanu Maria in Aracocli, Kome 


the succession of details. If we recognize 
only few of them the distance seems 
longer, and vice versa shorter. Exact 
parallel with time. Quick succession of 
events makes duration seem short while 
a slow succession, or very rare events, 
makes time seem longer and no events 
makes it seem endless. Therefore, when 
there will be no events time will cease 
although duration will last and remain 
unchanged. In short, time is a human 
notion. 

1 understand why I dislike innovation 
that comports removal or out-and-out 
destruction of buildings that I have got 
used to, of streets to which I had not 
only visually but muscularly got habi- 
tuated. But why should I be distressed 
that the future will not miss them? Per- 
haps it is that we attach our own sur- 
vival (in a measure at least) to things 
looking the way we have known them 
and that we die again with their dis- 
appearance and their replacement with 
other things that our ghosts could not 
recognize? Ghosts are seldom of more 
than two, or at most three generations 
back, unless they become spooks as 
perhaps Nero did for centuries. 


An hour in Santa Maria del Popolo. Poked about in corridors, sacristies, 
closets, as well as in the church itself. What variety! Early and late Renaissance 
tombs, two of them done by the incumbent in his lifetime. They knew better 
than to trust their heirs. Choir with ceiling by Pinturicchio at his best, and 
tombs by Andrea Sansovino anticipating schemes adopted later by Michel- 
angelo for the sepulchre of Julius II at San Pietro in Vincoli. The chapel with 
frescoes by Pinturicchio again at his best; the recumbent bronze by Vecchietta, 
the two Caravaggios placed in such a way as to suggest that those who ordered 
them did not think too highly of them. The charming Jonah in the Chigi 


November 2 , ig$2 


November j f i<)$2 


27 



1 1 After a design 
by Raphael: Jonah, 
Santa Maria del Popolo, 
Rome 


Chapel delighted me again. But what impressed me most this time was the 
tomb of an Odescalchi lady, who died at twenty^two in her third childbirth, 
made in 1772 or thereabouts. That such a masterpiece, rivalling the best Chinese 
art for expression of energy in leaves, in the eagle, the tree trunk, the sweep of 
the drapery, not to speak of the colour, had been done so late, only just before 
the collapse into the ‘art nouveau* which we know as ‘Empire*, amazed me. 


28 



Tomb of a Princess of the Odcscalchi Chigi family, Santa Maria del Popolo, Rome 


29 


November i6, ig$2 


November ig, ig$2 


November 24 , ig$2 


The Campidoglio, its palaces, the Forums, the Colosseum, floodlit are 
fascinating, if garish. Fascinating to see the shapes in unusual light. This 
satisfies our demand for ‘otherness’, our childish pleasure in the out of the way. 
Floodlighting certainly displays effects, angles, facets, which do not show up so 
emphatically in daylight. It acts in the nature of a comment, an interpretation, 
a fresh and perhaps revealing aspect of the workaday sunlit appearance of things. 
For myself I soon have enough of it, as I quickly tire of attempts to show up, for 
instance, Michelangelo’s sculpture in photography from angles and points of 
view never contemplated by the artist. The normal is what daylight reveals 
when we stand more or less parallel with an object and look at it. All the rest 
is an amusing and possibly interesting diversion. 

When unoccupied as in matutinal insomnia or when obliged to wait expecting 
to do something or to catch a train the next minute, time seems endless, as if 
jellified instead of flowing. On the other hand, if one is pleasantly acting as in 
creative work or travelling, or of course enjoying every kind of life-enhancing 
human contact, time seems to rush along. Yet when one looks back, time that 
one suffered almost vanishes from memory while time enjoyed gets more and 
more extended the more and more one succeeds in recalling the events that 
constitute it. What then is time? Eventless duration or what? No doubt it has 
been pondered over, discussed and written about for thousands of years but 
either I have not read any of it or have forgotten. For me at least time is largely 
subjective — in that respect unlike space which is concrete, definite, the same for 
all, no matter how swiftly or slowly one traverses it, and space is reversible 
whereas time is not. And yet space itself has a subjective element, despite 
measurable distance. Here in Via Ludovisi I am literally a stone’s throw from 
Via Sistina and sixty years ago it would have seemed no distance at all. Now 
it does. It used to seem nothing to walk from the Trinita dei Monti to St 
Peter’s, to the Colosseum, to the end of the monument-lined part of the Via 
Appia. Now they are distances out of conceivable reach. As a matter of fact, 
I now measure space not in terms of distance but in terms of fatigue. 

All arts used to be aspirational. Few now are. One of them is the ballet which 
perhaps is the reason why, like fairy stories, it pleases little ones as much as 
•grown-ups. The ballet gives us spectacles of men and women as beautiful as 
we should like to be, as agile and able to use their limbs. It is limited and made 
monotonous by the fact that we have but two legs and two arms and a limited 
number of twists of neck and turns of head. The Hindus may have tried to 
rebel against these drawbacks by giving their gods many legs and arms, but 
as these cannot free themselves more from their bodies than the two legs and 


30 



13 'Life on the Nile’, 
detail of a mosaic, 
Palestrina Museum 



arms the result is multiple monotony. But with all its drawbacks the ballet is a 
fairy world, a world where wishful dreaming is fulfilled, if only for the brief 
moment that wc admire it. 

At the Musco delle Tcrme where the great polychrome mosaic from Palestrina is November 2^, n)^2 
now admirably shown. The chiaroscuro representation of life on the Nile in it 
is almost modern. Am more impressed than ever by the fecundity of inventive^ 
ness and the mastery of artisanship in the Antique down to the middle of our 


31 





14 Detail of a wall painting 
from the Villa of Li via, 
Musco delle Termc, Rome 


third century. There are Antique objects which we scarcely look at: they would 
rank high if we took them for works of the fourteenth, fifteenth and sixteenth 
centuries. In the field of sculpture or mere stone carving Donatello alone among 
Renaissance artisans can be compared with the Antique average. Artisanship 
in all fields down to the end of our third century retained a high standard of 
quality and never became relaxed and flabby, as happens almost universally in 
contemporary art. Today a painter or sculptor begins by feeling that he has a 
mission, needs no training in the use of his tools, and must only give vent to his 
genius by sheer wishful thinking and metaphysicizing. 


$2 


The so-called ‘Garden of Livia* has been brought to the Museo delle Terme June 28, igS 3 
and placed in a room of the same size and height as the one it was made for. 

How dewy, how pcnctratingly fresh the grass and trees and flowers, how coru^ 
seating the fruit. Pomegranates as Renoir painted them. Bird songs charm one s 
ears. The distance in the ‘Garden of Livia' room remains magically impene/ 
trable, veiled as it was in the gardens in Lithuania, where I lived when I first 
came to awareness. And then the drawing of each leaf in the foreground, with its 
spiky edge! 

After many years returned to the Baths of Caracalla, now bereft of all pictures^ November 9, i ^$3 

queness, of every effort of nature to absorb into its bosom what man has done in 

competition with her. Now the ruin stands out bare and stark, but how bold, 

how sublime and still overpoweringly impressive. Those colossal masses of 

brick, how were they roofed, if roofed at all? How were they finished, stuccoed, 

decorated? Was the effect better (no matter how much bigger) than interiors in 

the classical style put up in the last century and that still can be enjoyed in 

Italian Atlantic liners? Ruins have the advantage of suggesting romantic wishful 


15 Tcpidarium, Baths of Caracalla, Rome 



November 10 , 193^ 


November 26, 19 33 


November 30, 1933 


reconstructions, free from disturbing detail and probably bad taste. 1 doubt 
whether Karnak or Baalbek were anything like as evocative and satisfactory to 
tastes like mine when they were going concerns. They may have seemed heavy, 
pompous, and pretentious. 

In my younger years the Sistine Chapel was so accessible from the Bernini 

staircase to the north of St Peter’s. The present arrangement is all but inhuman, 

and must be due to some bureaucratic convenience based on procuring the 

greatest inconvenience to the greatest number. Miles to walk, stairs to climb up 

and down, through corridors lined with artifacts that attract attention and strain 

your energies before you have managed to reach the Sistine Chapel. Tired out 

by this endless walk and annoyed by herds of tourists bellowed at by guides, 

I have a very poor impression of the frescoes and cannot get over it. The best 

Botticellis arc on the outer wall where the sun prevents one seeing them. The 

ceiling looks dark, gloomy. The ‘Last Judgment’ even more so. What would a 

dilettante, unacquainted with the subjects of these designs or their iconography, 

get out of them? A Hindu or Muslim might conclude that admiration for these 

frescoes was part of the Christian cult and had little to do with art. How much 

traditional admiration still influences us; how difficult to make up our minds 

that these Sistine frescoes are nowadays scarcely enjoyable in the original and 

much more so in photographs. 

* 

As a child I was fascinated by the story that Moses had horns on his forehead 
and that they shone with their own light. Indeed in most representations we sec 
no horns but beams of light from his head. Michelangelo in the mighty icon 
of San Pietro in Vincoli gives him, as a sculptor should, real horns. I wonder 
whether the tradition does not go back to the fact that he had mighty protuber/ 
ances on his forehead such as gorillas and Neanderthal humans have? If that 
could be assumed it would point to the historicity of Moses. A peculiarity of 
that kind could scarcely have formed part of the ideal law giver, and surely 
would not form part of the Moses legend, if the peculiarity had not been there 
visible to all, rousing remarks, and thus was handed down through the ages and 
gradually became transfigured into rays of light. 

I have paid twenty visits to the illuminated manuscripts exhibition at Palazzo 
Venezia and what have I carried away? Only a vague feeling of how much 
there is to study. To master them artistically and philologically would take a 
lifetime. So it is with all my travels. The first time I go to an unusual place, the 
Scandinavian lands, North Africa, Egypt, the Near East, the utmost I carry 
away is an idea of what to see and what to study on my next visit. But there 


34 




35 


17 Cardo dcgli Aurighi, Ostia 


June 24, 19 $ 5 


has been no second visit. Long ago I concluded that all we did on earth (no 
matter how long we lived) was to decide what topics we should pursue if we 
had eternity at our disposal, with time for everything, no haste, no interest 
treading on the heels of the last interest. Now 1 never get over feeling like a 
charlatan if anything I say is taken too seriously by others. 

To Ostia, with the last afternoon light of a golden day radiant on the brick 
walls. What living Claudes, or better still Hubert Roberts, Corots even. How 
I should have loved to muse there, unaware of strolling, lost in the dream world 
evoked by ‘Landscape with Ruins*. How many I have enjoyed in every part of 
the Mediterranean world and how eager I am to enjoy them all again with 
body and soul. Body giving out, will not serve soul, the which more and more 
restricted in a diminishing circle, leaving no choice but dreams unrealized. 


36 


18 The Tower of Baber, mosaic in the atrium, San Marco, Venice fr 


Venice July 1951 to June 1954 




July 7, 1 1/5 j 


The Venetian painters and sculptors and architects were my first love but 
Venice itself, Venise la vilk , not so much. Now it is the town that fascinates and 
rejoices me at every step and in all effects ot light and, I may say, in almost all 
weather. And 1 have come full circle about its painters. Again they appeal to 
me not only as the most pictural but as the most classical. Classical in the sense 
in which Greek art from the fifth to the first century is classical — sweetly reason/ 
able, calm in deep feeling and wholly free from rhetoric in the fifteenth century. 
Sublime with Titian at his best; and imaginative as illustration, by which I mean 
poetically interpretative, in Tintoretto. Then the Palladian architecture and 
Longhena and Tiepolo and his precursors way back to the most classical of all, 
Paolo Veronese. 

July q, uj^i 1 began my career as an attributor of Italian pictures in Venice and reviewing it 
I realize that in the first years only did 1 enquire what others thought and toe 
the mark after Morclli. After that, documented and dated works were my only 
stepping stones across the vague lands of connoisseurship. I never consulted 
authorities, 1 never thought of disagreeing over an attribution because a con/ 
temporary had just made it. Of course many of my own attributions had been 
anticipated by others. In the case of Giorgione, for instance, it is almost impos/ 
sible not to have been anticipated seeing that every romantic early sixteenth/ 



19 Cloister at 

San Francesco del Deserto, 

Lagoon of Venice 


20 San Francesco del Deserto, Lagoon of V enicc 


century Venetian painting has at one time been attributed to him. When I 
ascribed the old woman *Col Tempo to Giorgione, which to my knowledge 
at the time nobody had dreamt of giving to him, an American student pointed 
out that some obscure writer generations ago had already made the same 
attribution. 

Yesterday by motor boat to San Francesco del Deserto. Cinema people were July 10, i^i 
making a documentary, desecrating and vulgarizing what had been so spirit' 
ually ecstatic. Friars were mowing hay in the meadows and looked as beautiful 
in colour and action as in Japanese pictures of Buddhist monks. In the dmm 
a fine cloister and beyond it a garden with two tufted palms just as in a Lazzaro 


39 



2i Sixteenth'cemury cloister at San Giorgio Maggiore (Giorgio Cini Foundation), Venice 


Bastiani, and a sort of ruined pagoda all overgrown with leafage and topped 
with red flowers. It shelters two ageless grey tree stumps said to be remains of a 
tree planted by St Francis himself. With a touch here and there Chinese carvers 
could have turned these venerable relics into works of art. 

October 3, 1933 Whom does a show like the one of Lotto serve? For the public there is far too 
much of no interest or aesthetic delight. For the buongustaio too many indifferent 
pictures. Only the so-called art historians, that is the picture attributors, can 
profit by such an attempt at exhibiting the painting of an artist as uneven as 
Lotto. And how difficult it is to display them! 

Seen out of the pcnumbral light of the altars and in the light of common day, 
the Bergamo altarpieces, facing each other and, as it were, lighting each other up, 
make a poor impression as of rustic over/gaicty of colour. Then there are too 
many pictures and portraits shown only to induce attributors to find solutions. 
Yet one cannot but recognize and praise the effort made by Professor Zampetti 
and his staff, under the auspices of the Biennale, in gathering such a large num/ 
ber of Lotto’s paintings and having them properly cleaned and restored. 


40 





22 Dormitory in die former Monastery, San Giorgio Maggiore (Giorgio Cini Foundation), Venice 


Taken over to the Isle of San Giorgio Maggiore by Count Cini and amazed to October 6 , 1953 

see the progress made since I was there two years ago when Nino Barbantini, 

Cini’s chief adviser in the carrying out of this grandiose plan, was still alive and 
walked around with us. 1 remember being very much struck then by the 
resemblance between the original monastic intention and the idea of turning 
these monumental buildings into a cultural and civic institution. In the new 
Middle Ages into which we arc plunging we again shall need quasi'inonastic 
institutions to save and advance civilization. And by civilization I always mean 
the effort to humanize mankind and to provide the proper conditions, the best 
attainable for that purpose. Perhaps in the darkling, noisy, hammering, bomb-' 
ing, warring world into which we already are plunged such neo^monastic 
establishments may play the part that they had for centuries in our past and in 
a real sense continued to have until a couple of hundred years ago. Only they 
will have to acquire a more suitable theology or a new mythology of purpose. 

What still seemed a somewhat vague plan a few years ago has been realized in 
an almost miraculous fashion. We walked through the cloisters, up Longhcna’s 
grand staircase, through splendid halls for conferences, and vast corridors, 


4 1 


spacious reading and sitting rooms, delightful apartments for visiting scholars, 
a noble library, a nunnery, a trade school and playground for proletarian boys, 
another for orphans of sailors, an open theatre and a charming indoor one. The 
elegance of the past is harmonized with the comfort of the present. Freude am 
Ursacbe sein must be at the bottom of much that is undertaken and naturally the 
sense of freedom that is given by being able to carry out an intention. Both these 
elements must dominate in the successful Faustian. What more lifc/cnhancing 
than to be free to achieve all that, to be master and creator and ordainer. 1 felt 
this Faustian quality in Vittorio Cini as he was taking me around. He lives 
for this creation and nothing makes him happier than to show and to explain 
it to one whom he believes able to appreciate it. 

October 7, 1 The crowds at the Lotto show appear more interested and freer from boredom 
than I had expected. I should like to urge every single visitor not to forget the 
importance of Bergamo and its surroundings in relation to this show and not to 
miss above all seeing Lotto’s fascinating designs for the intarsias at Santa Maria 



23 Lorenzo Lotto: 
‘Miracle of St Clare’, fresco 
Oratorio Suardi, Trcscore 



24 Lorenzo Lotto: ‘Death of Absalom*, tarsia, Santa Maria Mtggiore, Bergamo 


Maggiorc nor the delightful frescoes at Trcscore and Crcdaro. As I wander 
about comparing one picture to the other, looking at the details of Lotto’s 
enchanting genre scenes and landscapes I am continually reminded of my early 
days when 1 first fell in love with this quaintly sensitive painter and decided to 
study him thoroughly. The pictures that first attracted me and started me off on 
my pursuit were the so simple and sweetly affectionate family group in the 


43 



October 8, 1933 


October 9, 1933 


October 10, 1953 


National Gallery, London, with the ample seascape in the background, the 
bride and bridegroom in the Prado with its subtle touches of humour, and the 
exquisite small St Jerome in a romantic landscape at the Louvre. 

As a youngster of twenty-two I approached a work of art with reverent recep- 
tivity, with longing to feel it, appreciate it and understand it. As for Lotto, I 
went on pilgrimage after pilgrimage with an almost medieval pilgrim’s diffi- 
culties anywhere and everywhere, no matter what season and what weather, to 
see a picture in a church of remote and difficult access. On the way I got more 
eager, zestful, got into a state of grace toward the picture 1 was hoping to see. 
As I left it I was filled with its image and had the leisure to absorb it, to make 
it unforgettably my own. After three or four years of living with and for Lotto 
I had him in memory as no bringing together of all his output under one roof 
could have done, for all the while I was unconsciously assimilating, and as 
unconsciously eliminating and relating and producing the composite image 
that ends by appearing when I pronounce the name ‘Lotto*. I had few repro- 
ductions nor did I need them, I remembered and recalled the pictures so 
vividly. 

Without losing the fervour of the pilgrim, I soon acquired the zest of the 
sportsman, of the pioneer and adventurer, the feeling of the Spanish conquista- 
dorcs who discovered and first looked at the Pacific. Where a Lotto was to be 
found or seen there I went, regardless of wind and rain, cold and discomfort. 
Transport sixty-five years ago was reduced to the rickety, slow, overcrowded 
corriere which I never took. I walked when possible or hired a carozzella or even 
a bagberc and little was the luggage I brought along. In the remotest villages of 
the Marches there was often nothing to cat but hard bread, onions and anchovies 
but every morning I awoke to a glamorous adventure, tasted the freshness of a 
spring or autumn morning in a Bergamcsquc valley as if it were a deliciously 
invigorating draught. Each altarpiece in its place in the cool or warm, but 
penumbral light of a church and its sanctuary atmosphere I enjoyed like the 
satisfaction of a vow and it remained fixed in memory as a crystalline individu- 
ality and not as a mere particle in the oeuvre of a painter. Its overtones lingered in 
recollection and its taste on the palate. 

How different all this from seeing the whole of a master’s surviving output, 
good, bad or indifferent, brought together in crowded rooms without the light 
and space necessary for their appreciation and even deprived of their raiment: 
the frame which, I forget what French painter of the last century said, was a 
reward earned by a good picture (as for me, any frame is better than no frame). 


44 




2J Lorenzo Lotto: ‘St Jerome in the Wilderness’, Louvre, Paris 


45 



Indeed in the Middle Ages and Renaissance the frame was as highly considered 
and cost as much as the painting itself. Now there is a mania for exhibiting 
pictures, as the Bellinis four years ago, like corpses wrapped in grave cloths, or as 
in the Lotto exhibition, shivering, naked against chilly gray backgrounds. 


October 11, And what interesting and amusing human contacts the search for Lotto gave 

me with scholars passionately devoted to the study of the art and history of their 
town. First among them, Pietro Giannuizzi of Loreto who discovered Lotto's 
diary just in time for me to use it for my book on that master. Then I remember 
Canon Giovanni Annibaldi of Iesi who saved the fascinating St Lucy Altar/ 
piece and other Lottos in that town from neglect and published documents 
about them; the director of the Rivista Misena, Anselmi; and the designer and 
creator of the Vittorio Kmmanuelc monument in Rome, Giuseppe Sacconi. 
At lesi 1 could enjoy not only the paintings but the majestically massive palace 
designed by Francesco di Giorgio, perhaps the most many/sided Italian after 
Leonardo, and I delighted in recalling that just here in the Piazza coram populo 






under a sumptuous tent was brought to birth the babe, the Puer Aputiae , 
destined to be the Stupor Munti , one of the most dazzling figures in history, the 
Hohenstaufen emperor Frederick II. 

October \ 2, u)$j One of the centres for excursions I frequented most was Macerata, a provincial 
town which in the eighteenth century owed its importance to being a half-way 
station between Bologna and Rome. 1 was amused to discover that a colony of 
English people, for reasons of economy or health, found it convenient to sojourn 
there. I recall vividly the Giulia of the inn at Macerata who used to prepare 
succulent evening meals when 1 returned after a hard day of sightseeing in towns 
and villages in the neighbourhood. There was a company of engineers at a 
round table and the sparring that went on between them and her kept us merry. 
I was surprised to hear such sound notions of economy and politics discussed 
and to meet even a lively interest in my own pursuits. Giulia was a real mulier 
fortis of the Bible and while not having the gracefulness of Goldoni’s Locan^ 
diera she reminded me of her in the freedom of her speech and the quickness of 
her response. 

Lotto means all that to me, an integral and unforgettable part of my youth 
when hope was a breeze laden with happy expectations. I wrote about him to 
the best of my ability. I am as proud of nothing in my past as of the fact that, 
although I was adoring him, in my book about the Venetian painters I only 
mentioned him briefly and never so lost my sense of values as to equate him with 
Titian or Tintoretto. 

October i$ t 19 53 Wherever 1 go the subject passionately discussed is the plan of the American 

architect Lloyd Wright for a palazzina to be built on the Canal Grande, just 
where it makes a curve, so that it would be visible from a long way off. Yesterday 
I was shown a photo of the project. It looked to me a rather amusing, playful 
affair, as if copied from one of the Neapolitan painter MonsiVs architectural 
pictures, suitable for a table lantern or even for a pavilion in a suburban public 
garden, but not for a conspicuous site on the Grand Canal of Venice. It may be 
argued that many other buildings already line it that should not be there, some 
of them vulgar eyesores. Granted, but they do not fall conspicuously out of 
pattern, nor would any school of bright young architects insist on our admiring 
them, which they certainly would do before this creation of a romantic and 
fanciful genius. The most distressing and inharmonious innovations happen not 
to be on the Canal Grande but elsewhere. Hitherto public areas had been held 
sacred. Nobody had the temerity to usurp one square foot of them. On the once 
so delightful Campo San Moise a bulky, protruding, vast structure has been 
allowed to go up thereby nearly hiding one of the finest medieval towers. 


48 






30 Tintoretto: 

‘Temptation of Christ* (detail), 
Scuola di San Rocco, Venice 



Not in Venice alone have these usurpations of sky^spacc, if not of eartlvspace, 
been permitted. My thoughts fly to Florence where the approaches to the Ponte 
Vecchio arc now so painful to an eye like mine that 1 do all I can to avoid them. 

Had the late lamented Mussolini lived to be the Augustus of his ambitions 
he would have left little of medieval and Renaissance Rome. All would have 
been sacrificed to the pressing needs of traffic. 

These needs are the greatest enemies to the beauty of Italy’s most famous 
towns. Laid out and built when even horse vehicles were barely beginning to be 


50 



31 Tintoretto: 
‘Christ before Pilate* (detail), 
Scuola di San Rocco, Venice 



used, their frequently narrow and tortuous thoroughfares serve now with diffv 
culty for automobiles driven by people crazy for speed. It is a problem demand' 
ing patience, tact and taste. 

Scuola di San Rocco. Sumptuous, magnificent, spacious this club/house of a May 18, 1954 
Venetian guild. As for Tintoretto’s paintings, they compare with Rembrandt 
for interpretation and as craftsmanship. In one composition, the Christ before 
Pilate’, he surpasses all other artists who have attempted the same theme. In the 


5i 


‘Temptation* Satan is a combination of grossness, impudence and challenging 
arrogance. The landscapes are among the most romantic ever created, evocative, 
transporting, nostalgic. In brief, Tintoretto here is as great an illustrator as 
painting has produced. His colour now is rich and strange, yet satisfying. When 
these paintings left his hands, they were as dazzling, fresh and radiant as Renoir, 
as we can see in a bit that was folded back and thus saved from sun and dirt. 
I am not sure that I don’t prefer them toned and mellowed to the condition they 
are in now. 

May 22, 1954 At the Fenice to hear Gieseking play Beethoven. In the intervals the murmur of 
the crowd filling the theatre sounded like nothing human or even animal. It 
was like the muted roar of breakers on a rocky shore, and the applause like the 
vitreous crash of a cataract. If I could not sec and did not know I should not 
have expected that the sounds that reached my ears were made by human beings. 
Pity I did not think of this when I wrote Seeing and Knowing . I could have 
paralleled it with Hearing and Knowing . Looking down from the loge I saw 
blobs of flesh colour and dabs of many other colours that would not have led 
me to guess they were faces and figures of humans. More and more do I become 
aware of how much antecedent knowing was injected into seeing, hearing, and 
smelling as well. 

May 24, 1954 Meeting many of my colleagues here makes me think of how until not long ago, 
when they were taken to an island to run wild and devour each other or starve, 
the dogs of Constantinople were strictly divided into quarters. Woe to the one 
who strolled into, let alone tried to occupy another than his own quarter. It is 
the same with scholars today. I, for instance, am a dog accredited to write on 
fourteenth' to sixteenth'Century Italian painting. Any other publications of 
mine are resented, attacked or ignored — my Caravaggio by nearly all seicentisti , 
my Aesthetics and History by all writers on Aesthetics, likewise my Seeing and 
Knowing , my Arch of Constantine by all archaeologists. I myself do not exactly 
resent but severely notice books by students of other periods and schools who 
butt in with books on Italian artists of my period. I scarcely consider worth' 
while writings like Malraux’s on art although he says much that a gifted out' 
sider may see in art, while regarding it as mere content and illustration. 

May 26 , 19 $4 I feel as if it had taken me all these years, from 1888 until now, to learn to 

appreciate Venice fully. I may not say that for I have no doubt that if I remain 
really alive I shall probably appreciate it more and more. Now I even enjoy the 
crowd in the calli and in the Piazza and Piazzetta. Yesterday at seven, with light 
nearly level with the horizon, walked to the Point of the Dogana and watched 


5 * 



32 Tintoretto: 
‘Flight into Egypt* (detail), 
Scuola di San Rocco, Venice 



the flush, the glow on the Doge’s Palace, on San Giorgio. It thrilled me when 
I first saw it, but with vague and turbid understanding. Now I can free it, 
liberate it, objcctivate it, express it even — no longer is it a state of pregnancy but 
of happy delivery. 

The eminent American sociologist, Thorstcin Vcblcn, invented the phrase 
‘conspicuous waste’. It docs not need definition for it rages nowadays and not in 
the United States only. 

But in Venice you float along canals, mere ditches, so narrow that you have 
to crane your neck to see the edifices on each side. As often as not they have noble 
proportions and the windows are partitioned with columns of extreme elegance, 
crowned by stone capitals carved to look like soft cushions of violets and moss. 

Why this inconspicuous waste? Few as they passed under them would look 


53 


up to admire and envy. Possibly because others built as magnificently in more 
favoured sites and the owners would not be outdone. More probably because, 
given the outlay, there were no architects, builders, carvers who could do less 
well. All had been taught and trained in a tradition and practice that admitted 
neither freaks nor scampings; for each took pride and had pleasure in giving his 
best, thereby realizing his highest self. 

May 28, 1954 High mass yesterday at St Mark’s with Cardinal Spellman officiating. Floor 
and galleries crowded. I stood for a whole hour carried away by the performance, 
the place. The interior of St Mark’s looked more beautifully, more radiantly, 
also more completely Byzantine than ever. All my senses, sight and sound, were 
ravished and my mind as well. This appeal, this aspiration, this ecstacy carried 
me away all the more so as the music, whether of the performers or of the con/ 
gregation, was unprofessional enough to seem utterly spontaneous. At the end 
Cardinal Spellman mounted the pulpit, not to preach a sermon but to talk 
about himself and his joy in officiating in St Mark’s and his love for Venice and 
for Italy. His accent in Italian was not American but distinctly English. It 
amused me to think that the head of the Irish community in the USA, whose 
chief objective is the ruin of England, could not help betraying by his accent his 
indebtedness to England. 


May 29, 1954 


Yesterday evening a boatload of Neapolitan musicians singing ‘Funiculi 
Funicula’ and other Neapolitan songs I used to hear when first in Venice in 
Scptember-Octobcr 1888. The boat gaily lit up, followed by gondolas fes/ 
tooned with Japanese lanterns transporting American tourists. For them this 
nocturnal fantasia is an integral part of Venice and perhaps for many all they 
will remember of their visit. Indeed, what do the tourists, now travelling not as 
individuals but in parties, carry away from their two, or at most three days’ 
visit to a town like this? There is the story of the elderly woman whose daughter 
could not make her recall Venice until, in despair, she asked, ‘But, Ma, don’t 
you remember the place where we got the five/button gloves?’ 


June 12, 1954 Titian’s ‘Martyrdom of St Lawrence’, one of the most romantic representations 
ever painted — dark night lit up by torches and by the blaze under the gridiron, 
the beautiful nude of the saint tossing about on it, the columns of the temple 
looming dimly lit, spectrally discernible, all go to producing an effect at once 
grandiose and sublime. As a study in light and shade unsurpassed. Caravaggio 
may, in fact must have seen it and been impressed by it. Yet, at the show of that 
painter’s works, Cremonesc precursors were exhibited but not this source of all 
later chiaroscuro experiments. Had the organizers of the show never seen this 


54 



3 3 Titian: 
'Martyrdom of St Lawrence’, 
Gesuiti, Venice 



55 



34 Cathedral and Santa Fosca, Torccllo, Lagoon of Venice 


June 20, j£5_/ 


June 24, ig$4 


56 


Titian at the Gesuiti or did they deliberately ignore it, in opposition to the thesis 
that Caravaggio owed nearly all to the Venetians? As for the Cremonese, what 
were they too but imitators of Titian and his chiaroscuro? 

On balcony this morning between 4.15 and 4.45, flat quiet light, mother/of' 
pearl tone with touches here and there of rose in the sky. Water oily, seemed to 
be flowing in but drift went the other way. The Salute like an engraving, or 
rather an etching, Whistlerish. Watched the gradual lighting up until I was too 
tired to wait for the full sunlight illuminating the entire sky. Giovanni Bellini 
and his immediate followers painted skyscapes as if they did them at dawn, 
probably because they realized the impossibility of doing sunshine. They paint 
the pallid sunless sky in the evocative way that delights us in even such medio' 
critics as Basaiti or Bissolo. In Bellini himself the skies are always of pale dawn, 
except in the Berlin ‘Resurrection* where he gives us a sky with crimson cloud' 
lets that revive us and inspire us with a fellow feeling for Him who rose from the 
dead as triumphant as the sun over the darkness. 

As I look back on my first visits to Torcello I recall that what I enjoyed and still 
enjoy is not the archaeological interest of the architecture and the mosaics but the 



35 Interior of Santa Fosca, 
Torccllo, Lagoon of Venice 



atmosphere, as at Ravenna, only more poignantly, as if time, having reabsorbed 
all that had been done so long ago, now reigned calm, soothing, like a cradle 
song, all so remote because there is no in-between. Today, with eight centuries 
of events behind us of which nothing remains except two churches, the basilica 
and the round church with its circumambulatory, one vaguely, dimly dreams 
of what these buildings meant ro those who put them up, whence came what 
they took for granted must be built, of the great likeness of the round structure 


57 




36 Byzantine pilaster 
and capital, 

San Marco, Venice 


37 Side entrance, 
San Marco, Venice ► 


to buildings we have seen in the Hauran and elsewhere in the Near East. All 
goals of the flights of imagination that make up what I feel at Torcello. 

June 25-28, 1954 Art histories and serious guidc/books call St Mark's in Venice overwhelmingly 
Byzantine. I am not sure to what extent the cultivated public has taken in and 
made its own the significance of San Marco. Not only is it entirely Byzantine, 
despite later ornamental accretions, but it is the most typical, the most complete 
and the most satisfactory Byzantine edifice now in existence. 


58 



59 







38 ‘Alexander the Great ascending to Heaven’, Byzantine relief, San Marco, Venice 


The learned say that it is an exact copy of the Church of the Apostles at 
Constantinople which was destroyed by Sultan Mohammed II the Conqueror, 
and rebuilt as a mosque known as Fatimieh, with the excuse that the Church 
of the Apostles was tottering and dangerously in ruins. A stronger reason for 
this vandalism was, I suspect, that the ambulatories of the Church of the 
Apostles sheltered the sarcophagi of the Christian emperors and could fan 
patriotism like St-Dcnis in France. 

In calling San Marco the most complete Byzantine edifice I do not except 
St Sophia, which makes scarcely any aesthetic appeal on the outside. Inside, 
St Sophia is no doubt more breath-taking as space, but less harmonious, and in 
its present God-abandoned state it has become a dreary, cold museum. Its 
interior rejoices us with its porphyry columns, their marvellous and varied 
capitals, and the exquisite wainscoting. In other respects it is now forbiddingly 
empty. One can scarcely imagine what it may have been like in the great days 
when it was the cathedral, not of a diocese, but of a vast empire. 

San Marco is excitingly rich outside as inside. The bare, naked structure is 
scarcely visible from Piazza or Piazzetta. One must look for it from within the 
courtyard of the Doge’s Palace, or round the back from the Canal and through 


60 


39 Porphyry head 
of a Byzantine Emperor, 
San Marco, Venice 



6l 



40 Gentile Bellini: Mosaic on the facade of San Marco (detail of ‘The Corpus Christi Procession*), Accadcmia, Venice 


the free passage to the sacristy. Wherever you descry the design and the brick 
masonry, you perceive an unadulterated Byzantine structure. Within, the raw 
bones of the structure lie hidden under every kind of Byzantine panelling of 
varied marbles, within columns of porphyry and other rare stones, some with 
capitals as of plaited straw, others as of daintily patterned bronze, still others like 
tops of windswept pine trees, all brought from the Byzantine world if not from 
Constantinople itself. They not only cluster in the embrasures of the three main 
entrances but stand free to right and left of the inner doors of the atrium. 

The facade and sides, particularly the northern one, are covered over with 
early and late Byzantine reliefs representing subjects and features, sacred and 
profane. Even the rare Byzantinc-Sassanian motive of Alexander the Great’s 
ascent into heaven is among them. They form a compendious collection of 
Byzantine sculpture. On the south-west corner of the balcony there is a fine 
museum piece in the shape of a porphyry head of a Byzantine emperor who, 
during a rebellion, had his nose cut off. On the south side there arc the two 


62 


groups of the Emperor Diocletian and his imperial colleagues embracing each 
other. To enumerate these sculptures one by one, outside and inside the basilica, 
to describe and date them, would fill a bulky catalogue. Has it ever been 
properly done? 

The mosaics above the balcony, except for the one on the extreme left, have 


41 St Luke, detail of the Pala d’Oro, San Marco, Venice 




disappeared. We find them reproduced in Gentile Bellini’s painting of the Cor/ 
pus Christi procession at the Accademia, as they still existed at the end of the 
fifteenth century. If there were the will to put them back, it would not be 
difficult to do so. 

Of the mosaics inside the basilica the best are in the cupolas, and on the walls 
of the right transept. In the cupolas the human figures represent saints but at the 
same time function as ribs of the structure. On the walls the narrative compost 
tions arc spaced with such wide intervals between the different groups, and the 
figures in the groups are so vertical, that they avoid the aspect of illustrative 
cartoons on the walls as we find them in the sixteentlvcentury mosaics in the 
nave. In the atrium the compositions are more crowded, being copied from 
early illustrations of the Psalms, but even they avoid horizontal effects and allow 
the vertical lines to conduct the eye to the caps of the cupolas (plate 18). 

In the choir itself the columns of the tabernacle are pre/Byzantine and the 
Pala d’Oro is not only the most gorgeous and most radiant enamel work, but 
the most exquisite as illustration, surpassing anything and everything of its own 
kind in Byzantine art and leaving far behind all other medieval enamel work 
including Nicholas of Verdun’s masterpiece at Klosterneuburg near Vienna. 

Except the mural paintings in Yugoslav monasteries and churches, the over/ 
restored but grand mosaics at Daphne near Athens, the copious but inferior 
ones at Hosios Lucas on the slopes of Helicon and some few at Salonica, 
Byzantine narrative compositions of before 1300 can be better studied at San 
Marco than in the whole Aegean world. Even the late fourteenth/century 
mosaics in the side chapels of San Marco can hold their own with any in the 
Byzantine world, excepting the earliest mosaics of the decline in the Karich 
Djami at Constantinople. By a curious stroke of fortune it is only in Italy that 
classical Byzantine iconography can be studied and enjoyed to perfection, in 
San Marco, as we have seen, and even better in Sicily at Monreale and above all 
in the Cappella Palatina in Palermo. 

Nothing of course can take away from the enchantment of seeing where they 
grew and flourished, no matter how diminished and ruined today. By travelling 
in Aegean lands and visiting the rare treasures they still contain, one becomes 
aware of Italy’s and Sicily’s richness not only in Byzantine art but in classical 
architecture as well. We only have to recall the temples of Greater Greece in 
Italy and Sicily, like those of Paestum, Syracuse, Agrigento, Sclinuntc and 
Segesta; and mosaics like those of Naples, San Prisco, Rome, Cefalu, Palermo 
and Monreale. 

Similarly, perhaps a thousand years from now, the art of the Western world 
will have to be sought in the greater Europe of America rather than in the 
Asiatized Europe of the coming centuries. 


64 


4 2 Fa$ade of the Chiesa dci Minori Osscrvami, Palazzolo Acreide ► 









43 The Straits of Messina 


Messina, 

May lg, ig$j 


Never since 1889 had I been in a train south of Naples. Had not seen bombed 
buildings both sides of railway line as one leaves Naples. Man has done here 
in a minute what it took nature relatively long, for all its violence, in Hercu- 
laneum, in Pompeii. Scenery — particularly between Agropoli and Sapri — ever 
more lush, more semi-tropical, rivalling the Amalfitan coast. Headlands, cliffs, 
towered heights, ravines, sea-distances. No good beaches. Only narrow strips 
of iron-grey between land and water. Gigantic olive groves, masses of yellow 
broom. 

Scarcely any foreigners. Heard the nasal voices of an American couple and 
saw the distinguished face of one elderly Frenchman. Most of the compartments 
occupied by Italians who seem to be on the move as never before in my sixty 
years residence in Italy, and travelling comfortably. At Villa San Giovanni an 
endless Red Cross train with pilgrims to Lourdes. What a tribute to hope! 

As the crowded joyous ferry-boat was nearing Messina, I was seized by an 
ailment perhaps confined to myself and which I have isolated and named. I call 
it ‘Xenodochiophobia*. It makes me sweat with anxiety about what I shall find 


66 




44 The Sea-front, Messina (before 1908) 


in the hotel that I approach. If the room should be of the wrong shape, too high 
or too low, too narrow, with furniture out of proportion, dusty, grimy, with 
torn wallpapers, without a reading lamp by the bed, without a wastepaper 
basket, I know I shall feel utterly miserable in it. More than once after a long 
day’s motoring and sightseeing in Spain, in Greece, in Syria, in Algeria, have 
I dreaded so much what awaited me that, tired as I was, I would have preferred 
to go on and on. My fears with regard to the hotel here at Messina were not 
groundless. Entrance hall magnificent with double grand staircase leading up 
to rooms I shall not praise, and the price charged for them is not in proportion 
to the rooms but to the splendour of the staircase. In compensation (as every 
where in Sicily) friendly helpful service, wholesome food, swiftly served. 

This town is now as vital and bustling as most other provincial capitals of Italy Messina, 

with broad streets and buildings inspired by Exhibition architecture. A certain May 20, ip S 3 

gaiety prevails, the views on the sea, the sea breeze. Yet I recall nostalgically the 
Messina that I first visited in 1888 with its noble architectural sca/front, called 


67 




45 Montorsoli: Fountain of Orion (1550), Messina 

the ‘Palazzata* and parallel with it streets lined with big and small palaces, each 
of their windows with a balcony caged in with gilded wrought iron. The 
pavement curving in towards the centre of the street to let the water flow off 
easily. Few traces of all this remain: the small but exquisite church of the 
Catalani, Montorsoli’s great fountain, perhaps the most wonderful of its kind 
in Italy, parts of the ancient cathedral, most of which has been heavily and 
pompously restored. 

It is curious that 1 know of no monograph that reproduces Montorsoli’s 
fountain in all its detail and gives an adequate account of its history. It furnishes 
a repertorium of Michclangelcsque motives the like of which exists nowhere 


68 


46 Central porch of Messina Cathedral 





except in the work of the great master himself. Apart from its importance in the 
history of Italian art it is a work of very considerable merit both as a whole, as 
design and composition, and for its entertaining and at times exquisite detail. 

In the northern part of the town, by the sea, the National Museum is now 
being rearranged in an old monastic building with spacious grounds and 
cloisters, very suitable for displaying a number of interesting late Antique, 
medieval. Renaissance and Baroque sculptures and architectural fragments, also 
mosaics and paintings. Among the last, two famous Caravaggios and several 
pictures by followers of his. Most of this saved from the various churches and 
convents destroyed by the earthquake. 

Messina, Asked for a morning paper and they brought me one that was so madly anti' 

May 21, 1953 De Gasperi and anti/American that I took it for a pro'Soviet sheet. The porter 

assured me it was the local Monarchist organ. Then he fetched me the Giornale 
ii Sicilia, supposed to be indipendente. Its tone was scarcely better. What do they 
want? Do they really prefer Fascists, Communists, Monarchists, anybody who 
will bring down the present government? Friends here complain of the mistakes 
De Gasperi has made. Of course he has, but government is an empirical affair, 
liable to every kind of wrong start and blind alley — indeed too complicated in a 
parliamentary regime to be carried on by mere human beings, no matter how 
able. And nobody alive is abler than De Gasperi. The overwhelming majority 
of Italians when they talk and when they write are far too passionate and lose 
their heads the moment they begin to discuss politics, treating it not as rational 
housekeeping but as theology. 

Chief reason for our staying three days in Messina is the exhibition of paint' 
ings by Antonello da Messina, the one world'renowned painter of Sicily and 
indeed of the whole of southern Quattrocento Italy. The show contains by no 
means all his works, none from London or Paris or Washington nor of course 
his masterpiece, the great ‘St Sebastian’ of the Dresden Gallery which has, let 
us hope, only momentarily disappeared. Apparently the Soviet authorities have 
declared themselves unacquainted with its present whereabouts, but that may be 
said for diplomatic reasons . 4 

Apart from a number of portraits more than sufficient to give an idea of 
Antonello’s greatness as a portraitist, it contains the ‘Annunciation’ which 
Enrico Mauceri 5 discovered at Palazzolo Acreide and the sublime ‘Pied’ from 
the Correr Museum in Venice. Also two ‘Crucifixions’, an early one from 
what used to be called Hermannstadt in Transylvania and a maturer one from 
Antwerp. In both of these and in what remains of the great ‘Annunciation’ 
there is in the landscapes a feeling for distance, for (so to speak) lived distance, 
walked'Over distance, that one seldom, perhaps never, gets in the Florentines of 


70 




47 Antonello da Messina 
‘Portrait of a Man*, 

CcfatO Museum 


the fifteenth century, despite all their passionate devotion to the study of per* 
spective. Even in the best of them, Piero della Francesca, Baldovinetti, Pol- 
laiuolo, it results in little more than mere topography. 

I cannot understand how all of us art critics failed to recognize the mind and 
hand of Antonello in the Correr ‘Pieta’. Perhaps because it is so overwhelm^ 
ingly Bellinesquc. Nevertheless what remains of landscape and architecture as 
well as something in the heads of the angels and in the Byzantine design of their 


71 




48 Antoncllo da Messina: ‘Crucifixion’ (detail), Sibiu Museum 

wings should have given us the clue to the right attribution. All honour to the 
late Roger Fry for having been the first to find it. 

Most mysterious is the career of Antoncllo. His beginnings as shown in the 
exhibition arc not too promising. The conviction I have had for many years 
that as a young man he came under the influence of Petrus Christus is now con- 
firmed, as Professor Bottari from Catania tells me, by a document discovered in 
the Milan archives which speaks of Petrus and Antoncllo having met and 
worked together at Milan. In 1474 or *75 he went to Venice, where his altars 
piece for San Cassiano created as much excitement as ever a Cezanne in our 
time has in Paris. For technical reasons no doubt, for as composition it is com 
vcntionally Bcllinesque and in expression non-committal, dull in fact. He ended 
by becoming almost entirely a Venetian, as is shown by the ‘Pieta’, the ‘St 
Sebastian*, and the portraits done in the last three years of his life. What he 
might have grown to if he had not been cut off at the age of forty in February, 
1479, leaves one wondering. 


72 



49 Antoncllo da Messina: ‘Crucifixion* (1475, detail), Musec Royal, Antwerp 


Among the various visits I made to Sicily, there was one in May 1908. We Messina, 

drove up to the wooded heights above the town and did so again yesterday, May 22, lg $3 

following the road to Palermo which climbs up swiftly, lined with wonderful 

clumps ofscarleMrcd geraniums, as if through a noble private park, and afford' 

ing the most poetical views of sea and sky and headlands. In December of the 

same year, 1908, I was at Washington, when one morning the paper brought 

in with my breakfast told of the appalling disaster that had overcome this town 

the day before. It not only horrified and distressed me for all the victims and the 

destruction, but filled me with anguish of anxiety about a dear friend I knew to 

be there. He was miraculously saved, but no trace was ever found of his wife 

and four children. 

When I first came to Taormina, the only inn was a small pink house just T 'aonnina, 

under the Greek theatre. How different from the vast caravanserai, inns and May 23, ig$3 

pensions, that now absorb the little town. Little, but with an important role in 

73 



Taormina i 
May 24, 


Taormina , 
May 2$, 1953 


the history of ancient Sicily. Like all its sister towns, always at war, even with its 
village neighbour Mola on a high peak above it. Its crowning glory is the view 
from the so-called Greek theatre. The curious thing is that when the theatre 
was, as we Americans say, ‘a going concern’, the spectators could not have 
enjoyed what we are seeing now, for like every Greek and Roman theatre it had 
a permanent architectural scene which precluded any outlook on the landscape. 
The reconstruction of such a scene at Sabratha and a still complete one at 
Aspcndus in Asia Minor show what a considerable height they reached. I do 
not recall whether Thucydides actually says that the theatre of Syracuse was 
crowded with anxious spectators watching the outcome of the battle in the 
inner harbour in their defence against the Athenians, or if that is a fancy of more 
recent historians. If Thucydides did say so, then the theatre of Syracuse must 
have been unlike most, if not all others. I suspect that the ancient Greeks and 
their docile pupils the Romans did not care for landscapes as views, but only as 
a feeling for the freshness of morning and evening and as delight in the calm of 
woodland solitude. 

Woke at 4.45 this morning and stepped out on the balcony to see the dawn on 
Etna. Its colour was silver and mauve over a gentle glow from within. A 
diadem of snow and below a necklace of cloud. The height of the mountain 
reduced by its soft long slopes. The sea a mirror reflecting and at the same time 
intensifying the colours of the sky and the sky itself blushing, flushing with the 
sunlight coming from below and making itself felt, although not yet visible to 
the eye. A calm with no sound but the muted one of the great expanse of sea 
breaking as it reached the shore. Wordsworth, in the mood of his sonnet about 
sunrise on Westminster Bridge, might have been able to communicate to those 
who had not seen it what the scene meant to me, and the sheer visual happiness, 
and the sublimity, harmony and solemn silence I enjoyed — so selfishly. 

As I have said, the soft slopes of Etna prevent our feeling its great height. But 
I felt it well enough one morning under the following circumstances. Early in 
December 1888 I took passage on a tramp steamer at the Piraeus, that was to 
land me at Messina. The sea misbehaved in the maddest, most boisterous 
fashion. It calmed down as we were approaching Sicily. I looked up at the 
crystalline firmament and saw a white curve following it up, it seemed to me 
almost to the zenith. I asked, what the world it could be? The answer was ‘the 
height of Etna curved with the curve of the sky’. Was it an illusion, was it 
really so? I have never forgotten the extraordinary vision. 

What eggs one to leave this so beautiful, so comfortable, so restful place? There 
is nothing for me to do here, now that I can toddle only with leaden legs and 


74 



50 Greek Theatre, Taormina 


can no longer take long walks. A prolonged stay after a bit of not unpleasant 
boredom might lead to my becoming creative again which would procure me 
greater satisfaction than travelling about from one discomfort to another, to see 
what I have glorified in my memory from my youthful visits and that now I may 
find disfigured by every kind of addition and vulgarity. Is it mere Wanderlust ? 
I fear for the most part it is. And why do we submit to this universal urge to 
change place? Why does the tourist kick about from one end of the world to 
another at such speed? Stopping nowhere, he takes in little besides the recoil 
lection that he has been there and that it still is on the map. Has no German yet 
written on Reiselusti 

Awoke again at 4.30 and stepped out on the balcony, gazing, seeing, looking, 
watching the dawn mounting over the Greek theatre and slowly lighting up 
the sky, the sea and the stretch of country all the way to snow-capped Etna. As 
I looked at the clustering houses within the hemicycle of its hills, Taormina 


Taormina, 
May 26, 19 $3 


75 



5i Mantegna: ‘Agony in the Garden’, National Gallery, London 


reminded me of something. After an effort to recall it, it turned out to be 
Mantegna in the National Gallery ‘Agony in the Garden’, or in the Gardner 
‘Sacra Conversazione*. Then memory yielded up the fact that I had come 
to the same conclusion twenty^five or more years ago, when last here. All 
the while I suffered from a haunting sense of being aphasic, mentally consti' 
pated, not knowing how to put into words the impressions 1 was receiving as I 
watched first the sunlight and then the sun itself lighting up sombre depths and 
creeping up the slopes of Etna. 

Enna, Although we have not stopped at Catania this time, its name calls up an 

May 27, j amusing bit of etymology which can serve as a warning to philosophers too 

eager to find so-called ‘scientific’ reasons for the origin of words. In the earlier 
part of the last century, when lemons were not yet being grown in the USA, 


7 6 



$2 General view with the Rocca di Mola, Taormina 


53 General view, Agira 


American sailing vessels frequently called for them in Sicily and particularly in 
Catania. The small boys of course gathered round these red'bearded giants from 
so far away, and when they became too annoying the Americans would yell 
‘Skedaddle*, which in the American language of that time meant ‘Get out of 
the way*. So the common people of Catania ended by calling the Americans 
‘G// Scbidado\ just as the French of the time of Jeanne d*Arc called the English 
*Les Godam' and the Tuscan peasants in 1944 called the American soldiers 
‘G// Ocbei\ 

The inflational Vcrga and the defiational De Roberto both came from 
Catania, or at least the last one spent his life there even if he came from else' 
where. Vcrga, although he treats so much of the peasants and small people, 
heroizes them. De Roberto, treating of the aristocracy, brings it down to earth. 
Verga retains his fame and is still read, I hope, not merely in school anthologies. 
De Roberto seems almost entirely forgotten. One of the most noted of American 
novelists, the late Edith Wharton, had the greatest admiration for him, and it 
was she who made me read his masterpiece of a novel 1 Vicere. 


78 




54 General view, Centuripe 


Last time we were in Catania, twenty^seven years ago, we were taken by 
Enzo Maganuco to the museum in the Benedictine convent on the outskirts of 
the town. It contained many objects of interest for an omnivorous art lover like 
myself. There was one large Antique vase that attracted my special attention and 
I asked the charming young director what it was. He looked at it for a long 
time and then said: ‘E un vaso\ He turned out to be a recent appointment for 
journalistic service to the regime and no ‘damned merit’ by way of preparation 
for his office. 

To come here we have taken a road that circles around Etna, touching 
Linguaglossa, Randazzo and Bronte, and then at Adrano joins the Catania- 
Palermo highroad. Again and again we crossed wide rivers of hardened lava 
wriggling down like snakes from Etna, the recent ones sinister in their unrelieved 
blackness, the older ones already covered with yellow broom, the flower chosen 
by Leopardi as symbol of the precarious condition of human life. Almost all 
the small towns we passed, but particularly Regalbuto and Agira, look at a 
distance like pyramidal or conical honeycombs, and as you get nearer, the 


79 


houses seem to be piled like dice, one over the other. Their grouped facets 
would have rejoiced the eye of a Cezanne more than anything he could find in 
his own Provence, except perhaps Les Baux. 

Getting into and through these towns in a motor is not easy, especially in the 
late afternoon, when the whole male population seems to be out in the street 
gesticulating, talking, discussing, and disputing, probably in connection with 
the approaching elections. 

And so to Enna, the most lordly town of all, surpassing for its position even 
Edinburgh, Toledo, Siena, Perugia, and any other hill town known to me in 
Europe and in the Mediterranean world. What a place this would be to pass 
days and weeks in, if only it had a comfortable, clean inn, kept by people who 
really knew their job and understood that it would be in their and their town’s 
interest to attract foreigners to it. 

The situation of the hotel, such as it is, could not be more beautiful. From its 
windows and from the great terrace-piazza before it one sees the bold profiles of 
the Castello Lombardo and of the sphinx-like dump of rocks beyond it, and 
then the whole range of mountains, as far as Etna, which today at dawn I saw 
in crystalline blue clearness. At night the electric-lit towns, Calascibetta just 
opposite to us and the others further away, twinkle like fireworks specially 
arranged for our pleasure. In 1908 1 came here in an open car with my wife and 
my dear friends Carlo Placci and his nephew Lucien Henraux. The hotel was 
at that time quite tolerable, although of rudimentary comfort. The bill almost 
took our breath away, the charges being very nearly what they were then in the 
best hotels at Palermo or Taormina. The hotel-keeper met our protests very 
readily: ‘You slept pretty well, you ate pretty well; how can you expect to get 
all that up here without paying prices that make it possible for me to keep an 
inn for travellers like yourselves?* 

Enna, No restaurant in this inn, but a well-kept one in the town from where the 

May 28, u)$j obliging valet fetched our supper both yesterday and the day before. At lunch- 

time we went to it ourselves and after two excellent meals were treated as 
habitues and took leave of the owner as of an old friend. 

Here, and everywhere in Sicily, both bread and pasta are of superlative 
quality and truly worthy of the reign of Demeter. Perhaps the finest quality of 
wheat is no longer exported as it used to be. 

1 must still be grateful to the existence of any kind of inn in this town, for 
only by spending two nights here have I been able to manage the excursion to 
the excavations of Casale near Piazza Armerina without too much fatigue. 
What a landscape to drive through: valleys and hillsides golden with the ripe 
corn, shaded roads, ash trees, eucalyptus, and the silhouette of Etna rising 


80 






5 5 General view of Calascibetta from JBima 


above other heights visible from a thirty miles’ distance. As we were approach/ 
mg Piazza Armerina we met more and more cattle and horses and people on 
horseback, or rather on mare’s back with the colt trotting alongside of them. 
In the town we had to bulldoze our way through cattle, horses, pigs, pottery and 
every kind of article being marketed. The trappings of the horses and the painted 
carts most picturesque, and to match them the riders should have been dressed 
like the natives of Arizona or New Mexico, m ponchos and leather stockings. 
On the road to Casalc, following a signboard with ‘Mosaic!' written on it, we 
got to a guichct where one pays and is admitted to the excavations. After 
heavy rain the path leading down to them was so muddy that we had to borrow 
rubber boots from the custodi to venture on it. 

The site of the villa soon appeared before us marked by scattered remains of 
walls and columns showing the vastness ol the original buildings. Various sheds 


Si 



5 6 Head of a horse, 
detail of a mosaic 
(fourth century a.d.), 
Casalc 


have been put up recently to roof over the mosaics. In the chief digger and over' 
seer of works, Cavalicrc Vcneziani, we discovered an old friend whom we had 
met eighteen years ago as Giacomo Guidi’s right hand at Sabratha. He showed 
us the more interesting of the semi-polychrome floor mosaics and unpcdantically 
explained what they were supposed to represent and their probable date. 0 It 
clearly was the villa of a very important person. Cavalierc Venezia ni suggested 
that the owner might have been no less a figure than Maximian, the father of 
Maxcntius who, setting himself up as the rival of Constantine, was slain in the 
epoch-making battle at Ponte Mollc. In the great hunting scene the principal 
personage, the owner probably of the villa, was undoubtedly meant to be a 
portrait and his dress and low round cap are the kind worn in the beginning of 
the fourth century. His features do not preclude the possibility — given differ- 


82 


57 Head of a buffalo, 
detail of a mosaic 
(fourth century a.d.), 
Casale 



cnees in technique and quality — of its being the face seen frontally on the gold 
coins of Maxentius. In the vast composition representing a chase, the most 
important of the whole lot, we see riders dashing forward and backward, 
beaters, carts drawn by oxen with cages for wild animals, quantities of tigers, 
lions, gnus, hippopotamuses, gazelles. The animals done with considerable 
spirit, the human beings much less so. They are dressed in tight-fitting tunics 
that reach down to over the knees and anticipate the clothes of ordinary people 
in the early Middle Ages. Some of them also wear capes with embroidered 
trimmings. In the centre of the composition, on a river or lake, rowing and 
sailing boats arc kept ready with wooden bridges leading to them from the land, 
one of which is being crossed by a horseman pursued by a tiger. 

Hunting scenes of this type were much in favour at the time when people 


83 


were used to the cruel gladiatory spectacles in the circus and to a dangerous and 
violent mode of life, liven the churches, particularly in the peripheral parts of 
the oeamiene, were sometimes decorated with such scenes. They furnished 
amusing and spirited decorations without having to fall back on definitely 
pagan imagery or to get involved in controversial Christian symbolism. I seem 
to remember hunting scenes in the early Christian church of Lirmita dc San 
Baudelio near Soria in Old Castile. 

The principal personage, already referred to as possibly a portrait of Maxeiv 
tius, stands between two shield/bearers and wears an elaborately embroidered 
cape reaching down to the ankles. After the triumph of Christianity the fashion 
of these embroidered capes was taken over by the Church and gradually the 
floral and geometric designs changed into representations of Gospel stories. 
They became so extravagant that writers of a generation or two later spoke of 
people having the whole story of the New Testament on their backs. In a 
chastened form this kind of cape became the cope -p/Wd/f - of higher cedes!' 
astics, which has been worn all through the centuries and is still being used on 
great ceremonial occasions and in processions. Famous are the copes env 
broidered all over, like the magnificent one done for Hmperor Frederick 11 in 



58 After a design by Botticelli: 
Hmbroidcrcd cope (detail), 
Museo Poldi Pezzoli, Milan 



Palermo and the medieval English ones of which at least two fine examples can 
be seen in Italy, one at the Vatican and the other in the small Diocesan Museum 
of Picnza near Siena. In the Renaissance the designs for episodes of the Gospel 
and stories of saints to be embroidered along the edges and on the back (where 
a sort of shield takes the place of the original hood) were frequently furnished 


85 


by the best painters of the day. One can also find them represented in pic- 
tures, like Fra Angelico’s ‘Coronation’ at the Louvre or Signorelli’s great 
altarpiece in Perugia Cathedral. 

Another mosaic, a semi/circular one, has for its subject the fulmination of the 
Titans, the central figure of which vaguely recalls the upper part of Michcl- 
angclo's ‘Last Judgment’. The composition must go back to a Hellenistic 
artist and may originally have had some astrological connotation. Again in a 
lunette is seated an allegorical figure with a cornucopia in one hand and an 
elephant’s tusk in the other, between elephants and tigers. She reminds me of 
the city deities that were common in the Hellenistic period, like the colossal 
third' or fourth-century Roma in the Museo delle Terme. 

In some of the mosaics winged putti climb over trellises to pick grapes and 
call to mind Raphaelesque compositions like Giovanni da Udine’s ceilings in 
the portico of the Villa di Papa Giulio. Most unusual ten female athletes 
attitudinizing with floral emblems in their hands. They have nothing to wear 
except a soutien'gorg e and a cache'sexe, a combination of garments re-invented for 
the young women of recent years who pass their summers basking and baking 
on the beaches of Cannes and other Riviera resorts. 

Interesting both archaeologically and historically as these mosaics certainly are 
from the point of view of draughtsmanship and quality of line, they are not to be 
compared with the one great semi-polychrome mosaic that has come down to us, 
the ‘Battle of Alexander and Darius’, now in the Naples Museum, done three 
centuries earlier, nor with the beauty of execution in black and white compo- 
sitions found so plentifully in central Italy. Above all they recall the mosaics 
which one finds everywhere in North Africa. 1 would suggest that they have 
their origin at Carthage and that the workmen may have come from there. 
They may go back to inventions of Alexandrian artists, but not as directly as the 
great mosaic from Palestrina with its display of lotus and papyrus and crocodiles. 

Despite the mediocre execution, the Casale mosaics are of high cultural and 
art-historical interest and it is to be hoped that the excavations will be com- 
pleted without too much delay. 

Looking back at the enclosed valley facing the sun, one realizes that the villa 
must have offered perfect shelter in the wintry season. And even later, after 
falling into great disrepair, it yet continued to shelter some inhabitants or some 
tenants till the Norman period, as is proved by coins found there. Probably the 
forest, which to the north kept the soil together, was cut down and floods and 
landslides gradually overwhelmed the whole place, which thus no longer 
offered shelter to occupants who could have restored it. 

It is time to return to our night’s quarters at Enna. As we drive back in the 
sunset light I am pursued by the nostalgic vision of so many country seats and 


86 




«o Female athletes, detail of a mosaic (foutth century A.D.), Casale 


»7 


elegant villas, that must have existed in these and other regions of the classical 
world from the British Isles to the Sahara Desert, of which no trace is left. 


Syracuse, On our way down from Hnna we passed through the picturesque fair of Piazza 
May 2i ), h)$j Armcrina again and skirted town after town, each climbing from valley to top 
of hill and crowned by facade and tower of its cathedral. Loftiest of all in 
position and most elegant in the outlay of streets and Baroque buildings is 
Palazzolo Acreide, whence came the Antonello ‘Annunciation*. At the very 
top of the town, in a convent-church with a delightfully capricious Rococo 
facade (plate 42), a noble statue of the Madonna by Francesco Laurana, the my- 
sterious artist, frequently confused with the Dalmatian Laurana, who is supposed 

to have worked as architect in Urbino. 

61 Francesco Laurana: bleonor.i of Aragon, It is, as a matter of fact, hard to put him 

Museo Naziotulc, Palermo together, the sculptures attributed to him 



being of such different character and 
quality. He seems to have worked 
chiefly in Provence and southern Italy, 
producing portraits of women among 
the most fascinating done in the Rcnais- 
sauce, excepting those of Desiderioonly. 
Yet in compositions ascribed to him in 
Carcassonne, Marseilles and in Sicilian 
churches, he is a poor creature. Of the 
statues of the Madonna all over Sicily 
ascribed to him, some few are manifestly 
his while the greater number seem to be 
by the Gaggini who undoubtedly were 
under his influence. He deserves more 
study than hitherto has been devoted to 
him. 

# 

What a different Syracuse from the one 
I knew in 1888! The town was then 
confined entirely to Ortygia and on the 
continental side, so to say, there was 
nothing but the railway station. From 
this one drove into the old town in 
broken-down cabs over a castellated 
bridge, bearing the arms of Charles V. 
Now a vast modern city has gathered on 


62 Francesco Lauraiu: 
Madonna (r. 1474), 
Chiesa dci 
Minori Osservanti, 
Palazzolo Acreide 




6} Edward Brandard: 'View from Fort Labdalon, Syracuse', engraving 


both sides of the narrow water, spanned by a bridge so wide that it appears to be 
an ordinary street. The quality of insularity is abolished and the sense of com/ 
pact completeness that went with it. 

Unchanged are the water/front, where our so often visited and still highly 
satisfactory hotel is situated, and the delightful ten aces leading up to the papyrus/ 
filled spring of Arcthusa (except for its being neoivlit at night), the Arcthusa of 
Shelley’s so evocative verses beginning with: ‘Arcthusa arose— From her couch 
of snows — In the Acroceraunian mountains.’ Nothing more classical than the 
view, across the great harbour, of Plcmyrion and the 1 bican hills, yet the head 
waiter assures us that whoever has been to Lucerne cannot fail to see how 
identical the view here is to the one there on the lake. 

Syracuse, A violent soutlvwcster has prevented our revisiting the classical sites, the 

May jo, t£ 5 j theatre, the fort of Euryelus, the Achradina and Epipolae, and the romantic 

source of Cyane with its papyrus blowing in the breeze and its transparent 
multi/coloured depth. I have had to confine myself to the two museums and to 
the Duomo, the former Temple of Athena, roofed over and walled in by a 
seventh/century bishop. The wonderfully preserved Doric columns of the 


90 


64 Spring of Arcthusa, Syracuse 






65 Fragment of a laver, Museo Mediocvalc, Palazzo Bcllomo, Syracuse 

Duomo give one a sense, that one lacks in the fragmentary outdoor ruins, of what 
a vast space these temples occupied. The medieval museum, placed in an inter/- 
esting Aragonese palace, is full of Byzantine fragments, among them colonettes 
that may have come from the Proconnesus in the Sea of Marmara whence they 
were exported to every part of the Mediterranean world, as far at least as Anda^ 
lusia where we find them in great numbers in the Khalifian palace of San 
Jeronimo outside Cordova. The classical museum is most famous for its nude 
Venus, twin sister almost of the one from Cyrene in the Museo delle Terme, 
one leaving me as cold as the other. Unusual in quality is a large early Christian 


92 


66 Left aisle of the 
Cathedral with 
columns from the 
Temple of Athena, 
Syracuse 



93 



67 Early Christian sarcophagus, Musco Archeologico, Syracuse 


Syracuse , 
May 1953 


sarcophagus, not only for the way it treats gospel subjects but for the actual 
quality of the sculpture. Hall after hall with Attic vases, several of extreme 
beauty, but wearisome for there being too many of them and because we cannot 
touch them as well as see them. The museum houses also a world-famous 
collection of Antique coins, for the making of which Syracuse was supreme. 
But only the happy few can hope to see them, celebrated archaeologists rather 
than mere art-lovers like myself. 

The waiter in this hotel speaks with regret of the time when travellers stayed, 
dressed for dinner, took time to enjoy the place. Now they mostly come in huge 
buses and see the whole of Sicily in six days. ‘What do they see?* the old waiter 
asked. ‘They make sure the town they have heard of has not run away/ Travel- 
ling, change of place seems to be a physical need, perhaps already of most 
animals. As for humanity, it seems to have been on the move all the time, if not 
for other reason than on pilgrimages and even crusades. I recall how as a little 
boy of six or at utmost seven I longed, yearned to go and sec what was beyond 
the horizon. Moving, going to another town, another village even, used to make 
me feverish with excitement. And now that I am almost eighty-eight, why am I 
here, suffering fatigue, discomfort, even boredom, if not of the animal urge ‘to 
make pilgrimage’* 

Among the things that, owing to the raging wind I have been prevented from 
doing here, is to pay my respects to the Palazzo Landolino, still standing, I hope, 


94 




on the mainland, where a great German poet, Count von Platen, the butt of 
Heine’s most spiteful wit, lived and died in 1835, an ^ ^ es buried in his host’s 
garden. He was the author of very remarkable sonnets, verses in the Arab mode, 
and of one of the most nostalgic ballads ever written, that about the burial of 
Alaric in the Busento at Cosenza. 

Sicily has fascinated the Germans even before the Romantic period and 
before the cult of Frederick and Manfred and the glories of the Hohenstaufcn in 
Sicily and southern Italy. There was the patrician Goethe of course, and a far 
less known writer, the Hessian sympathizer with the French Revolution, Scume, 
whose Spaziergang nacb Syrakus deserves to be translated into English and other 
languages. It is curious how already these early German writers attempt to tell 
us what they feel, while the cighteentlvcentury English gentleman Brydonc, in 
A Tour through Sicily and Malta , only tells what he does and what is done to him. 

On our way from Syracuse we came through Noto, a fascinating town with 
its wide streets, sumptuous palaces and churches and grilled balconies. 
It was planned, as Professor Bottari told me, by the Syracusan architect 
Rosario Gagliardi after the great earthquake of 1693. Stopped to see the 


Vittoria, 
June 1 , u)sj 


68 Balconies of the Palazzo Villadorato, Noto 



69 Cathedral of 
San Giorgio, Kagusa Ibla 



most inspired of all the Laurana Madonnas in the Church of the Crucifixion. 

Then Modica and Ragusa, climbing up over deep ravines to heights crowned 
with magnificent cathedrals; both peculiar in the sense that like early Roman/ 
esq tie churches in Germany their facades rise to a bcll/towcr. And both were, it 
appears, built by the same Gagliardi, as arc other churches of the same type in 
this region. Instead of being forbiddingly severe they attract us with their 
Rococo gaiety. Modica I visited before, in 1908, with Placci and Henraux. 
Carlo di Rudini had notified his adherents and they received us with the great/ 


96 



70 Church of 
San Giorgio, Modica 



est cordiality. While waiting for an elaborate dinner to be served, they pressed us 
into sampling their choicest wines. What with the smoke, the clatter of dishes, 
the loud talk, and the potent wine, 1 ended by fainting away and was carried to 
bed. When I came to myself a few minutes later it was as silent around me as the 
desert. Not a sound, not a voice. I have often remembered this proof of humans 
ity, of fello wheeling, the like of which in my experience one docs not find to the 
same degree out of Italy. Nobody is as ready as the Italian to help one in real 
need, in a need that he can understand and sympathize with. 


97 



To our delighted surprise we landed here in a perfectly unpretentious inn with 
every comfort for the weary traveller. It was not easy to reach it through the 
compact crowd of males of every age — not one female to be seen — thronging the 
main street and the piazza. The inn too seemed to be intensely alive with male 
customers and the owner assured us that to keep good rooms for us had not been 
easy. We asked whether this was due to the election campaign. Oh no, here we 
are only interested in the campagna del pomodoro —the campaign for tomatoes. 
Vittoria turns out to be the most important centre in the whole of Sicily for 
primizie , artichokes, peas, beans, tomatoes, grapes, out of season. Buyers come 
here to choose and negotiate, which explains the surprisingly good hotel. We 
found the dining-room filled with males, mostly dressed like workmen but 
manifestly doing themselves very well on food and wine that cannot be in- 
expensive. 

Vittoria’s name is not due to battle and victory but to the touching fact that 
its founder, a Colonna who at the beginning of the seventeenth century acted as 
viceroy for Spain, named it so out of affection for his daughter Vittoria Colonna. 
On the central piazza the same kind of Baroque church, but in more modest 
proportions, as at Modica and Ragusa, and alongside of it a theatre in the 
classical mode, one of the best in that style to be seen anywhere in Europe. Like 
most Sicilian towns it has a public garden to put to shame the great cities of the 
North. We got to its principal entrance ten minutes before twelve and were con- 
fronted by a custodc who rather angrily announced his having to close it at noon 
precisely. We pleaded our having come from far away to see it and would he not 
wait until we had been to see the view at the far end of it. No; if this walk took 
us longer than ten minutes he would close the garden wilitarmente at twelve. So 
wc gave it up, but complained to the inn-keeper. Deeply outraged, he tele- 
phoned to the Sindaco who sent an official with excuses and the order to have the 
garden reopened for us at once. The culprit was there with a bunch of flowers 
and a very woebegone face, and we made our peace with him. The view at the 
end of the park over the valley of the lppari was well worth the quarrel. But how 
this custode reminded me of innumerable experiences in museums when the 
guards begin to shout and shuffle and clang keys half an hour before closing 
time and without any possibility ofsuch an amiable aceommodement as was granted 
to us in Vittoria. 

Agrigen to, 

June 2, j()53 


Meanwhile we have reached Agrigento, driving through rich agricultural 
stretches of land, the immense fields of ripe golden corn separated from the sea 
by a narrow strip of beach, while the headlands of Gela and Licata rise up so 
sharply that one wonders whether this coast may not have been very different in 
800 B.c. from what it is now. The sea must have crept much farther inland, 


98 



71 Teatro Comunalc 
and Chicsa della 
Madonna dellc Grazic, 
Vittoria 



isolating the towns and making them far more defensible and at the same time 
more independent and more hostile to one another. How I wish I knew enough 
geology to substantiate what I suspect. My wife used to complain about our not 
being able to afford carrying along a geologist and a botanist on our travels to 
tell us exactly what the land was like in past ages and what grew upon it. The 
whole of Sicily must have been surrounded by rocky islets which now arc like 
knobs projecting from an oval dish. As for the trees and flowers, I recall 
nostalgically the pleasure I had in Greece in 1888 in the company of my fellow 


99 


72 John Couscn: 
‘Temple Area, Agrigcnto, 
from the South*, engraving 



traveller, a Dutch biologist and botanist who later became the head of the world/ 
famous botanical gardens at Buitenzorg in Java. He could tell me what grew 
in ancient times on Greek soil and what had been added since. A privilege such 
as in days gone by only princes would enjoy when on one of their tours of 
instruction. As we came in sight of the temples of Acragas, the sun was setting, 
transfiguring the columns of these simple but most harmoniously proportioned 


73 Arthur Willmorc: 
‘Temple of Concord, 
Agrigento*, engraving 



IOO 




74 Limoges casket in the sacristy of Agrigento Cathedral (twelfth century) 


structures, as if they had been lit from within. Nowhere in Greece, excepting the 
Parthenon, do we get such an evocation of Hellenism. 

Yesterday we had one of the few really perfect days granted to us since we Agrigento, 
started on our tour. Spent the morning in the town itself, looking at the admire j Hrte ^ 
able Limoges twelftlvcentury caskets in the sacristy of the Duomo and at the 


IOI 


75, ?(> Two heads of giants from the Temple oi Zeus, Agrigemo Museum 


famous Phaedra sarcophagus so much admired by Goethe. It is poor in execu- 
tion but excellent as composition. As we were passing through the sacristy we 
glanced at its walls covered with dust-bitten portraits of its former dignitaries. 
Who now looks at them, who knows their names, who cares who they were 
and what they achieved! 

In the museum some good Attic vases and impressive colossal heads from the 
Temple of Zeus, also some fine Roman Republican portraits. 

The old quiet Girgenti of my first visit in 1888 is now a hustling market-town 
with a crowded piazza and a post-office in the Babylonian style introduced by 
the Fascist imperial architects. 

Returned to the temples in the afternoon, pacing from one to the other, 
enjoying the light and wondering what the great town looked like, rising to 
what are now the cathedral and the Rupc Atenea. The huge telamon from the 
Temple of Zeus, lying on the ground, vies in size with the colossi of Egypt. 
Perhaps it was direct Egyptian influence that made the Greeks of southern 
Sicily so close to Africa in their attempts to build and to sculpt in a mode 
utterly out of touch with human proportions. Even Athens did not entirely 




77 Sarcophagus of Phaedra in the sacristy of Agrigento Cathedral (third century B.c.) 


103 




78 Altar of the Chthonic Deities, Agrigento 


escape the ambition of doing the colossal, but no Hellenic town tried it again 
after the fifth century. The Temple of Concord remains relatively so intact 
because it was turned early into a Christian church and its closest surroundings 
into a cemetery. There must have been prodigiously massive high walls all along 
the escarpment of the temple zone, for in the huge masses hurled down by 
earthquake there are evidences of many graves which must have been dug out 
of the walls. This makes it seem likely that the temples themselves were not 
visible, as they are now, from the sea, all the more so because the sea must have 
been much nearer to them. I seem to have read somewhere that the columns of 


104 


79 Peristyle of the Temple of Concord, Agrigento ► 




the temple were originally stuccoed. Could they have been more beautiful then 
than they are now, so warm and honey coloured? It makes me nostalgic for the 
old days when 1 had the leisure to spend hours sitting there, leaning against one of 
the columns, smelling the thyme and reading Theocritus and Virgil. 

Sixty^five years ago, on a mild late autumn night, my travelling companion 
and myself started on foot to see the temples lit by the full moon. We had got 
half-way when we became aware of the tramp of horses behind us. Two 
carabinieri rode up and invited 11s very courteously to turn back for reasons that 
seemed convincing enough to make us give up our romantic dream. 


Castelvetrano , Yesterday between Agrigento and Selinuntc wc stopped in the charming coast 
June 5, H)§} town, Sciacca, to look at churches and palaces and fifteenth'century sculptures, 

including another Madonna attributed 
80 hruncesco Laurana: Madonna, Sciacca to Laurana. Reached Selinuntc in time 



to enjoy it thoroughly in the later afters 
noon light, picking our way among 
these piles of colossal capitals and drums 
oi columns lying as they were tumbled 
down by earthquakes. Selinus, even 
more than Acragas, attempted the cob 
ossal on the Egyptian scale and one 
wonders where a town on the outskirts 
of the Greek world could find the 
labour for such gigantic structures. To 
build the Parthenon and the Propylaca, 
Athens could squeeze contributions 
from its reluctant allies. Here, there 
were only the great cornfields, supples 
mented with oil and wine crops. The 
Fascist regime is bencnierito for having 
had part of the columns of the great 
temple on the acropolis re-elected, and 
for having extended the road, making it 
possible for the traveller to drive up to it. 
It tends, however, to make one concciv 
trate one’s attention on this site and to 
neglect the impressive ruins further iiv 
land. It would take a gifted prosc^writcr 
to give an idea of this place, to describe 
the emotions and evocations that it 


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arouses in the spectator. Perhaps only a great elegiac poet like Leopardi, or 
Shelley, or Keats could communicate it to the gentle reader. 

This inn, or better night'shelter, has not improved with the years and the 
vicissitudes of the last war. But I must again be grateful for it, as it would have 
tired me too much to reach another centre after the visit of Selinuntc. All the 
heavy work, the carrying of luggage seems to be done by a boy of thirteen. Able, 
quick, intelligent, he could go fir if he had a chance. Here he works for his 
mere keep. 


Trapani, 
June 5 , i 9 S3 


Castclvetrano seen in daylight appeared to us disgustingly dirty; refuse and dust 
and ragged papers whirled along the streets by the wind and into one’s eyes. As 

we tried to get access to the Municipio in order to see 



the early bronze Kouros from Selinunte, we found 
it invaded by black'gowned furies of women, 
screaming, gesticulating, protesting. Wc were told 
by the official who led us to the room where the 
Kouros is kept that the town government was on 
strike and that no work done for it had been paid 
in four months. 

In contrast Mazzara del Vallo seemed particularly 
attractive, wclbkcpt, with a beautiful cathedral close 
and a fine public garden on the sea-front. In the 
cathedral several Antique sarcophagi, one parties 
larly striking of proto^Ravennate, perhaps Constant 
tinopolitan workmanship, representing Meleager 
and the Calydonian boar. 

Lunch and rest at Marsala in a wclbkept inn. In 
the cathedral fine columns of various African 
marbles and great preparations going on for the 
Corpus Christi procession, little girls peacocking in 
their bridal first communion finery. 

On to Erice by a hairpinny road with views of the 
sea and headlands getting ever finer and more cxteiv 
sive. On the top, towering over pine groves, the 
elegant little town with its romantic castle and the 
entirely French cathedral porch, while the inside is 
of the purest Louis^Philippe Gothic. We are told 
that the late Victor Emmanuel III came here fre^ 
quently to enjoy peace and solitude far from the 
madding crowd. 

82 Kouros from Selinunte, Municipio, Castclvetrano 





Trapani, 

June 6, 


85 John Couscn: 
'Distant View of the 
Temple, Scgcsta', engraving 


The old part of Trapani is laid out in the typical Roman fashion with narrow 
lanes crossing at right angles, all packed full of people dashing forward and 
backward. Many palaces, some with succulently florid Aragonese portals, the 
rest Baroque. On the whole a lordly town with fine public gardens. We walked 
about in the streets and, as there seemed to be an unusual number of opticians* 
shops, we entered the most elegant looking and asked if a pair of spectacles too 
wide for me could be fitted into a new frame. They had nothing to suit me. 
We asked the same question in a much more humblcdooking shop and without 
hesitating a moment the optician bent my spectacles over a small electric heater 
to the shape that suited me perfectly. It reminded me of the story told me by a 
German friend of how in the Polish Corridor a tourist car broke down in a 
small village and nobody seemed to be able to discover why the motor would 
not work any longer. Finally a Jewish migrant mechanic was sent for and he, 
after giving the car a few knocks with a small hammer, made it work again. 
He asked for thirty zlotys, which seemed very excessive to the tourists. ‘You only 
gave a few knocks with your hammer!* ‘Ten zlotys for having come and twenty 
fiirgewusst wohitt-for having known where to knock.* But my Trapani optician 
friend would not accept any payment for having known how to bend my 
spectacles. 

This very decent inn is looked after in every detail by the owners themselves 
who could not be more courteous and helpful. Again many of the customers of 
the restaurant seem to be dressed like workmen and one wonders how they can 



no 




86 Temple with Monte Varvaro, Segesta 


afford it, unless they have special ihcommodements. Or has it become the fashion to 
look as if you belonged to the working class even if you don’t? It seems a pity 
to create an artificial class distinction in a country like Italy where the physical 
type is almost identical at all social levels. 

Wonderful drive to Segesta yesterday afternoon. First glimpses of the temple 
from the high road most romantic, but too small to affect the landscape as it 
does when near at hand. It is on the whole as impressive as ever, an affirmation 
of reason, order, intelligence in the midst of the pell/mell, the indifference, the 
anarchy of nature. The columns are not to be compared with those of Paestum, 
or the Parthenon, or Bassae, for they lack the elegant swelling in the middle 
and seem to have been pressed down in a mould widening from capital to base. 
Is it possible that they have been left unfinished? I seem to remember an archae/ 
ologist friend telling me that the last refinements w'crc done on the spot. Unfor/ 
tunatcly I was unable to manage the walk to the theatre on the site of the ancient 




87. 88 School of Nino Pisano: Madonna, with and without cx^votos, Santiurio dcirAnnunziata, Trapani 


Egesta, or Segcsta as the Romans preferred to call it. Egesta did not sound 
agreeable to their cars, being too much like the Latin word for indigence. Why 
should a city have grown up in this situation? Perhaps because it was so 
defensible. 

The din and the clatter of the election campaign went on with increasing 
vehemence until past midnight. It had in a mild way something of the uncoiv 
trollablc carnival spirit of an American presidential election and might be com 
sidered as a quinquennial sfogo. If T did not know what it was all about, it would 
have been just as unintelligible to me as was the cackle of hundreds and thou/ 
sands of geese in Lithuania, where I spent my childhood. I remember trying to 
get as near to them as possible in the hope of making out what they were saying. 

Yesterday forenoon at Trapani we went first to the Santuario della Santissima 

Annunziata where the famous eult/image a Madonna of the school of Nino 

Pisano— is no longer completely encased in gold and silver watches and jewels 
and trinkets as I saw it in 1908. In the adjoining former convent, with grand 
cloisters and staircases and vast corridors reminding one of Sankt Florian in 
Austria, the Museo Pepoli is housed. In 1908 its creator, Count Pepoli, was 
still alive and did the honours to 11s. 1 recall his showing us the guillotine and 


Palermo } 
June j, 1933 


11 2 





89 Baroque staircase in the former Convent of the Annunziata (Museo Pepoli), Trapani 


explaining with a certain pedantic satisfaction how it worked. The museum 
contains a variety of church and lay furniture, some Antique objects, an indif' 
ferent collection of late paintings and, best of all, a fine show of ceramics. 

Reached Palermo in the late afternoon after another delightful drive on excel' 
lent roads, another glimpse of the solitary temple of Scgcsta, a rather sordid 
impression of Partinico, ending up with wonderful coast scenery. 

This hotel. Villa Igea, has the grandest and most numerous salons I have ever 
seen, reading and writing rooms, bars, on different levels, with a huge garden 
filled with palms and every kind of subtropical plant, all right on the sea, and 
across the gulf the jagged skyline of the mountains. It gives one the curious 
sensation of being on a super' Atlantic liner, gliding so smoothly that you do not 
feel the motion. All in good order and good taste, regardless of expense. It can 
house, I am told, 180 guests. At present there are about eighteen. How can it 
pay? It belongs to a time before the first world war when to the average person 




90 Mosaic in Roger’s Apartment, Palazzo Reale, Palermo 

nothing seemed to mar the horizon of our increasing well-being and our free- 
dom to enjoy living in the beauty and comfort of an hotel of this type. 


Palermo, Spent yesterday morning in the Cappella Palatina, a jewel of Byzantine art, with 
June g, igjj a gorgeous, almost purely Arab honeycomb ceiling. Quality of the mosaics not 
of the best, drawing parallel to Deodato Orlandi, the thirteenth-century Luc- 
chese painter. In the former Palazzo Reale, Roger's apartment with its magnifi- 
cently conventionalized trees and beasts, a perfect composition, more Persian or at 
most more Seljuk than Arab. The palace unfortunately not as well kept as it 
should be but repairs and restorations are being planned. 

Palermo, Returned to Monreale. The delight the church gives me is almost spoilt by my 
June 10, ig 53 despair over not being able to make it, the whole and the details, my own, like 

a possession I always could lay hold of at need, to enjoy again, in spite of garish 
and sometimes even uncouth restorations. The effect of the whole is so gorgeous. 


114 


91 Oriental ceiling, Cappella Palatina, Palermo ► 




so supeMerrcstrial, that its medieval congregation could not help feeling it like 
a forecourt of heaven, like Jerusalem the golden of the hymnal. And what a 
complete illustration to the narrative parts of Holy Writ and the lives of saints. 
In the cloister variety of capitals — each different from the other, as the guide invarix 
ably proclaims— some of exquisite quality as composition, interpretation and 
carving. The best of them are Burgundian and remind me of those seen at 
Nazareth in Palestine in the small museum near the Church of the Annulled 

Interior of Monreale Cathedral 





93 Capitals with the 
‘Annunciation*, 
Cloister of the 
Benedictines, Monreale 



ation. Knowing, as we now do, that any number of architects, sculptors, and 
even fresco painters, were among the crusaders, it does not seem at all unlikely 
that single sculptors, or perhaps groups of them, should have stopped over in 
Sicily on their way to the Hast and that traces of the same type of work arc found 
here and there. 

In the Museum of Antique Art I was struck again by the uniformity of ‘style* in Palermo, 

every part of the Greek world and its cultural dependencies, as for instance June 11, 1953 


94 Capitals with 
William II offering the 
Church to the Madonna*, 
Cloister of the 
Benedictines, Monreale 




x ^aar " ^ 



95 ‘The Rape of Europa’, 
metope from Selimmte, 
Museo Nazionalc, Palermo 


Etruria. A uniformity even greater than that of the art of today radiating from 
Paris. All frontal or in profile. The interest of the Archaic artist was conceiv 
trated on form so that movement is comparatively neglected. The latest metopes 
from Selinunte have attained perfection of form, but the action, the movement 
is still awkward and limited. This tends to confirm the thesis that the tactile 
values were the first objective of Archaic masters in Greece as among all gifted 
primitives. A fairly large Etruscan collection in this museum proves how little 
there is in Etruscan art that was not taken from the Greek. Etruscan art repre/ 
sents a slight variant in subject matters and in inferiority of execution. Only 



96 ‘Artemis and Acueon*, 
metope from Selinuntc, 
Museo Nazionale, Palermo 



through the originality of incompetence can it be distinguished from the art of 
the Greeks. 

As the Tempio of Rimini encases a Gothic interior with a Renaissance exterior, Palermo , 

so the cathedral of Palermo encases a seventcentlvccntury interior with a June 12 , 1953 

medieval exterior. It is inconceivable to me that such a superb building in the 

capital of the NormamSwabian empire could have been left undecorated. There 

must have been mosaics there, as important and as beautiful as those of Moiv 

reale. I recall reading somewhere that the seventeenth century destroyed them 


U9 



97 'The Triumph of Death* (detail), fresco, Palazzo A bbatelli, Palermo 


with an indifference or even an hostility towards the art of the past that charac' 
terizes all epochs convinced of the infinite superiority of their own. Sometimes 
the architects limited themselves to covering them over with whitewash. At 
Messina for instance several important mosaics were discovered in the apse of the 
cathedral during the restoration after the earthquake of 1908. 

The tombs of the Normans and Hohenstaufen royalties must have been 
modelled on the imperial ones at Constantinople in the Church of the Apostles, 
now the Fatimieh Mosque. 

Returned to the charming Oratory of San Lorenzo where Serpotta anticipates 
the Directoire and even the Empire style, and to San Francesco to see the inter/ 
esting architectural details brought out by the bombardment and subsequent 
excellent restoration. At the Municipio the Catalan ‘Triumph of Death', form/ 
erly in the Palazzo Sclafani, much more dramatic than the Pisan one . 7 Some heads 
foreshortened in a way no mid/fiftcenth/century Italian would have attempted. 


120 


98 Porphyry socle on the Tomb of Frederick II, Palermo Cathedral ► 






99 Decorative sculptures, Villa Patagonia, Baghcria 


Palermo, Been to Villa Valguarnera at Baghcria and looked at one of the finest views 

June 13, 1953 from its vast garden terrace. And then to Palagonia with its grotesque statues 

and beautiful carving of every bit of stone. All sordid, breaking up, carried 
away. The pity of it! Millions arc being spent on restoring third-rate paintings 
and frescoes that might be used to save monuments of taste and craftsmanship 
of the fascinating eighteenth century. Their disappearance all over Italy — and, 
alas, over England and Central Europe as well! — will obliterate great chapters 
of art history. 

Palermo, Returned to the Zisa, a double cube or rather one cube piled on another. It 
June 14, 1933 gives one a sense of power, order, elegance, as perhaps no other surviving 


122 




ioi Palazzo della Zisa, Palermo 


medieval building, but shorn of all its splendour and its capacity for giving 
pleasure by the squalor of its surroundings. Restorations are being planned for 
the palace and the garden but the houses all around will remain unchanged 
1 fear. 

The old Palermo that I first saw in 1888 stopped at the Opera House which 
was not yet completed. The residential quarter, now almost as extensive as the 
old town itself, one scarcely dreamt of The old town has lost much of its 
splendour. The aristocratic magnificence of its two principal thoroughfares 
meeting at the Quattro Canti and the fine equipages pacing leisurely are gone. 
The streets are too noisy and overcrowded to be enjoyable, nobody seems to be 
out for the pure pleasure of being out, everybody hurried and fussed. The bonv 
bardments have played havoc with the palaces that rose right on the sea. Now 
an esplanade, convenient no doubt, but ugly, spreads between them and the 
water's edge. Palaces further inland also have been damaged by bombs or have 


124 





Palermo , 
June is, 1953 


come down a good deal, but the representatives of the oldest families still 
manage to live their distinguished almost eighteentlvcentury life of cultured 
leisure. Despite this impression made on a reuenant after sixty years or more, I 
feel that the change is superficial. All classes of the people seem still ready to join 
in the periodical outbursts of enthusiasm over political or religious events. Santa 
Rosalia is still omnipresent and I have no doubt that had I had the luck to 
participate in her feast, I should have found Goethe's account of it quite 
adequate. 

Mentioning Goethe yesterday made me turn to his immortal descriptions of 
Sicily. What impresses me most this time is his getting so absorbed in the gestae 
tion of his writing that it makes him forget the discomforts he is suffering. On 
the way from Naples to Palermo by sea he feels seasick, lies relaxed flat on his 
back, taking nothing but red wine and bread, and ignoring nausea manages to 
turn his thoughts to the completion and perfecting of his Tasso . As he wanders 
about Palermo and looks and takes in, he keeps thinking about his work and 
about a Nausikaa he thought of writing. His method is not to take notes but to 
think out a theme completely before he writes it down. With a touch of almost 
boyish complacency he says that he can easily fill in all the detail from his own 
experiences of encounters and partings, not so tragic as between Nausicaa and 
Ulysses, yet nostalgic enough. 

Sitting down in a public garden, irresistible curiosity gets hold of him about 
the plants in which he hopes to discover the Urpjlanze — the first growth — out of 
which all others sprang. As a sightseer he is blind to the Middle Ages. No 
mention of the Norman and Swabian achievements so dear to the Germans of the 
Romantic period. No visit recorded to their tombs in the cathedral. He speaks 
of riding through Monreale but docs not seem to have looked at the mosaics nor 
at the matchless carvings in the cloisters, just as some months before passing 
through Assisi he made no reference to San Francesco and all its marvellous 
Trecento paintings. Such a genius and yet so limited in his visual tastes, he 
expresses and interprets only the admirations that were current in his epoch and 
accepted in the cultural world he belonged to before coming to Italy. If, in 
following his steps I notice his indifference to what is our chief delight now, 1 
do not by any means want to belittle the importance of his pages. I want only to 
point out the distance created by different cultural traditions between us and 
eminent men of other ages. 

He appreciates the sumptuousness of his lodgings in what in my time has 
been the splendid Palazzo Butera right on the sea. As there were no classical 
remains to be examined at Palermo, he abandons himself to the enjoyment of the 
scenery and is fascinated by the cynical good humour of its inhabitants, by the 


1 26 



104 Entrance to the Grotto of St Rosalia, Monte Pellegrino, Palermo 


whimsical absurdities of people in high places. Describes the unspeakable 
filthiness of the streets and how it was accepted as unavoidable. 

Remembering that Palermo was the birthplace of Cagliostro, the eighteenth/ 
century mage, miracle worker and impostor who would have put to blush the 
most famous spiritualistic humbugs and swamif of our day, Goethe looks up his 
family, with a certain bad conscience about the fibs he has to tell in order to 
approach them. He speaks with touching sympathy of their humble but dig/ 
nified way of living and the noble resignation of Cagliostro’s old mother. 

Goethe goes to Bagheria and is shocked and outraged by the sculptured 
monsters and grotesques of the Patagonia, because, as usual in his enjoyment of 
visual art, he sees only the shapes and very seldom the quality of the execution. 
A few days later he encounters in the street a distinguished elderly gentleman in 
court dress followed by liveried servants holding out dishes for alms. On 
inquiry he finds that it is the creator and owner of the Palagonia who is collect/ 
ing what sums he may gather for freeing Christian slaves in North Africa. And 
Goethe’s heart softens towards him, although he wishes that instead of wasting 
his money on follies he had given it all up on such noble purposes. Riding 
through the centre of the island, he encounters more and more miserable 
lodgings, with the exception of Alcamo, and speaks of Enna or Castro/ 
giovanni — toute proportion gardee — as I have recently done, that is to say, not 


127 




105 View of Palermo with the Cathedral and Monte Pellegrino 


drawing a veil over the material discomforts suffered in a place that should be a 
paradise. 

His great preoccupation everywhere, not only in the country but even in the 
towns, is mineralogical, not so much for the stones themselves as for what they 
tell him about the geological formation. At Girgenti he is at his happiest, in 
raptures over the temples that we still enjoy so much and over many picturesque 
ruins between them and the acropolis that have since disappeared. 

Accompanied by a draughtsman — how happy an upsto'datc Kodak would 
have made him! — and wandering with him through landscapes that seem sub" 
lime to us as distance and skyline, he complains of there being nothing to 
inspire the pencil of his friend. Only the fore-edge existed for them. 

Not only the Sicilian, but the whole of his Italian journey demonstrates how 
timc'bound even a genius like Goethe could not avoid being. We think in vain 
that we are free to look and see and appreciate everything on earth. Even the 
most gifted of us can never get much beyond what he was taught to understand 
during his formative years. 

Palermo, Our last day. Went up to Monte Pellegrino on a glorious morning and was sad 

June 16, i<? 5 j at having to leave all this matchless beauty. If only one could possess it all and 

keep it, one would be a god. 


128 





Syracuse, 
May 2, J£55 


On board the 
Argentina, 
May j, njss 


Tripoli, 
May 5, i 9 55 


Many of my friends, being by now thoroughly air-minded, arc indignant with 
me for taking this journey to Tripoli by such old-fashioned methods of loco- 
motion as train and ship. Just now I feel as if they may be right for I have not 
found the famous Freccia del Sud quite as agreeable as I expected. It shakes one 
up badly by obliging one to push and stumble twice through the crowded, 
draughty corridors of six or seven carriages in order to reach the dining-car and 
fight one’s way back from there. Besides, from Rome on it might be more 
appropriately called Freccia del Digitmo. A rather late breakfast may be obtained 
on the ferry-boat and a cestino at the station of Catania but otherwise nothing is 
provided for the sustenance of the traveller. 

Nevertheless I am delighted to be here in perfect weather and glorious light 
and to see again what two years ago I was prevented by a raging libeccio from 
revisiting. First of all the Greek theatre, wonderful geometrically but spoilt by 
factory chimneys and suburban buildings that have grown up between it and 
the sea. Then the fort of Euryelus which happily remains one of the most 
impressive sights of Antiquity. No sordid houses anywhere to be seen and the 
silence of a world where for centuries nothing has happened. 

Contrary to the Freccia del Sud this boat of the Tirrenia line is a pleasant sur- 
prise. It had been described to me as old and run down and I find it clean and 
well looked after, with sufficient space for walking about, attentive service and a 
charming captain. Among the passengers an old friend, Giacomo Caputo, 
with whom twenty years ago, when he was a young inspector of the monuments 
at Bengasi, we spent several days at Cyrcne. After Guidi’s death he became 
Superintendent in Libya and directed the excavation of the theatre at Lcptis. 
He is now returning to Lcptis to take last notes and measurements before pub- 
lishing this important discovery. 

I was whisked away by my hostess yesterday morning from the quay and left my 
companions to deal with customs formalities. Heard later that it had not been 
easy to secure porters because of Ramadan being in full progress, the great 
Muslim fast when no food or drink may be touched from sunrise to sunset. 
Who can blame the porters for shirking their work under such circumstances? 

On driving through the town to this secluded house on the outskirts, I 
noticed little change. The Lungomare still magnificent, one of the finest sea- 
fronts in the whole Mediterranean, the public gardens well kept up, the white- 
washed houses looking clean. This villa, once the property of the Karamanlis, 
was bought by Giuseppe Volpi about twenty-five years ago and now belongs 
to his daughter, our hostess. In spite of all the conforti modertii it provides, the 
mysterious charm of an oriental dwelling has not been spoilt. It is as if the house 



107 Patio, Saniet Volpi, 
Tripoli 



turned its back on the street, from which only a bare white wall pierced by two 
massive green portoni is visible, and as if it only wanted to watch in gentle 
contemplation over its inner life. From the central patio, supported by elegant 
marble columns and with a murmuring fountain in the middle, the cool 
pleasant living-rooms and other small courts and passages arc reached, and 
through these last the oasis-garden where the stems of the palms rise up like the 
columns of an ideal mosque over a carpet of flowers planted in regular squares 
and cut by small channels for irrigation. A blaze of colour on the ground, on 



108 Oasis-garden, 
Saniet Volpi, Tripoli 



the flowering trees and shrubs, on the walls covered with bougainvillia, and a 
fascinating play of light and shade as the breeze gently moves the branches of 
the palms. 

Tripoli, I feel about as lazy and slack as the observers of the Ramadan fast and not up to 

May 7, any exertion. Walking about in the garden, sitting by the pond with the water/ 

lilies, reading or being read to, chatting* dreaming, watching the sunset from the 
roof terrace satisfies me completely My hostess has invited the Superintendent 
of Monuments, Ernesto Vergara Caffarclli, for me, a highly intelligent, active 
and well/trained archaeologist and an attractive human being. It is to the credit 
of the Libyan government to have appointed another Italian, when Caputo 
(who had kept his position during the war and the difficult aftcr/war years with 
great tact) was appointed Superintendent of Antiquities for the whole of 
Etruria. Vergara seems to get on well with the officials he depends from and 
manages to do an astonishing amount of work in spite of receiving very meagre 
financial help. 

Tripoli, With Vergara to Sabratha where Guidi took us twenty years ago, and delighted 

May 11, 11)55 to find that the avenue leading to the excavations now bears Guidfs name. 

Unfortunately too tired to take the whole round of the ruins but able to enjoy 
the fine mosaics and portrait busts in the museum and the reconstruction of the 
theatre which had been barely begun twenty years ago. The olive plantations 



109 Theatre, Sabratha 


i io Great floor mosaic, 
Sabratha ► 




tit Bernard Berenson 
in the ‘push-cart’ at 
Leptis Magna, escorted by 
Ernesto Vergara Caffarclli 


along the road have developed magnificently and a number of concessions seem 
still to be in Italian hands. Others look abandoned. How much human indus/ 
try and perseverance and capital has been expended here during the Italian 
occupation. One cannot help wondering what will happen once the Allied 
control comes to an end. Will the Libyans want to carry on and preserve what 
may seem to them an intrusion from a hostile world? And even if they are by 
now wise enough to understand the immense value of all this improvement, will 
their Lords and Masters the Senussi allow them to preserve it? It appears that 
there is no love lost between the two regions. The Libyans consider themselves, 
and 1 believe quite rightly so, more urbanized and have no very high opinion 
of their nomadic masters But I hear too little of what goes on politically in this 
haven of peace and tranquillity and cannot presume to form any judgment. 

Leptis Magna, I am deeply touched by all the trouble taken to make this excursion possible for 

May n, me. Vergara has put the rooms at the back of the museum at our disposal, 

Caputo and his assistant who were living in them have gone away to let us have 
them, my hostess has organized a minor house^movc to make us all and partis 
cularly me absolutely comfortable for two days. And most miraculous of all, a 
kind of push-cart on four wheels that can be rolled on the Decauvillc rails and 
that used to serve visiting gerarchi and notables is ready for me and spares me the 


134 





trudge through the vast expanse of the ruins. Four labourers push and pull me 
from one site to the other, while Vergara is there to explain and elucidate. 

My most vivid impression of twenty years ago, the great basilica, is more than 
confirmed by what I sec now. In every detail there is an elegance free from any 
Baroque over/'floridness as, for instance, at Baalbek. The great sculptured 
pillars arc so delicately undercut that the effect is almost of lace work, reminding 
one of the best Indian sculpture or the facade of Mschatta in Moab (most of 
which is in the Berlin Museum), or of Carolingian ivories of the same date. 

Ltptis Magna, The most fascinating part of this visit is the theatre dug up under the direction 

May 16, 15)55 of Caputo since we were here in 1935. By ^ ar the best preserved stage, orchestra 

and seats, and sufficient remains of the top colonnade to let one imagine the 
whole complete. Another feature I do not remember seeing anywhere else, at 
least not so clearly recognizable, is a colonnaded ambulatory, originally roofed 
over (corresponding to what would nowadays be called a ‘foyer*) built in a 
semicircle around the remains of a temple. 

I am no longer as I used to be, consumed with curiosity and eagerness to 
reconstruct ruins into their original shape. Partly, no doubt, because I can no 
longer run about like a puppy snuffling at every stock and stone. But I always 
have enjoyed ruins romantically, if the surroundings admitted it, if they were not 
in the midst of crowded towns like the Rotonda now included in the grounds 


1 14 Decorative tendril from a pilaster, Basilica of Scptimius Sevcrus, Leptis Magna 



1 1 s Theatre, Leptis Magna 


of the Central Station in Rome. And 1 still love to muse and dream and 
visualize ruins as a scene, as romance, as a transporting evocation. 

Leptis is, all considered, one of the most impressive fields of ruins on the 
shores of the Mediterranean and can stand the comparison even with Palmyra, 
the desert port, and with Baalbek, its gigantic columns and its overblown 
florcated decoration. There is still much to be excavated in Leptis. The port, 
for instance, appears to be intact under layers of hardened mud and would be 
fascinating to reconstitute. Further work will depend on what all of us who love 
our classical past will be willing to contribute. 

In a horsc/cab through the whole length of the town to the quadrifrontal Arch 
of Marcus Aurelius. Had forgotten how complete the stone cupola is and how 
dignified and noble the figures of prisoners in the remaining but fast disinter 
grating reliefs. From there we wander through the oldest quarter of the town. 
Neither in the souks of Cairo or of Aleppo or of Damascus have I had such an 
impression of exotic Orient and remoteness from the West as in the souk here. 


Tripoli, 

May lg, ig$S 





f 



l, < 

\ ... \ V 



1 16 Arch of Marcus Aurelius, Tripoli 


Picturesque and paintablc in the style of Delacroix and Decamps and all the 
other Orientalizing artists. Mow wise of the Italians, when they built the new 
Tripoli, to have left the Oriental town almost intact. No thought as in Florence 
of removing the antico squallore and replacing it with the vita moderna . Yet the 
souks must be airless, suffocating and filthy, making Westerners itch to aerate 
and clean them. The Arab takes these conditions as natural and unquestionable. 
He gives them his unconscious approval and would miss them if they were 
changed. 

Tripoli, New moon, which means that the great fast should be over and a tripudium of 

May 21 , j<? 55 feasting and rejoicing set in. But no, they tell us that calculations such as we 

believe in are of no avail and that if the new moon has not been seen by those 
appointed to watch out for it, the fast cannot be called off. Friends who know 
the Near Eastern countries pretty thoroughly tell us that in none of them have 
they found, as one does here, meticulous observance of the fast by almost one 


hundred per cent of the Muslim population. For four weeks work that can be 
put off like that of artisans, masons, carpenters almost comes to a standstill while 
unavoidable work is carried on in an atmosphere of nervous tension and 
quarrelsomeness. It is surprising that the laxity in observing the rules of the 
Koran prevalent in Egypt should apparently find no imitators here, seeing that 
whatever comes from Cairo, papers, radio, cinema and even the time (one 
hour in advance of Prague), is worshipped here. 


The new moon has been seen and the sounds of drums and fifes and general Tripoli , 

rejoicing reach even our retreat. In driving to the museum of the Castello I was May 22, i () 55 

amused to see the life in the streets so changed, so much gayer and livelier. 

Everywhere are seen groups of picturesque figures in clean white togas and new 
mightily creaking shoes, and cartfuls of men of all ages are driven out to some 
festive meeting. It seems that there is an elaborate protocol for wishes to be 
exchanged when friends meet again after the great fast, safely delivered from a 
public calamity. 

Taken over the Castello by Vergara, a remarkable palimpsest of earlier and 
later buildings, a labyrinth of passages, stairs, terraces, quiet inner courts with 
ample room for the various collections, prehistoric, ethnological, classical, 

AralxvTurkish, all very well displayed (plate 106). In the basement, and still 
waiting for their proper place, a group of late Antique reliefs found in the 
‘hinterland*, fascinating examples of the disintegration of form. As bonne bouebe 
Vergara shows me a recently found and very puzzling small ivory representing 


1 17 Relief from Ghirza 
(sixth century A.D.), 
Tripoli Museum 




Ii 8 , 1 19 Crouching figure in ivory, probably Alexandrine (second century A.D.), Tripoli Museum 


Tripoli , 
May 24, 195$ 


On board the 
Argentina, 
May 26, lg 55 


a crouching figure in a ritual position with legs crossed and right arm across his 
chest. Exquisitely worked. Must be a sacred object and suggests the possibility 
of having been done in Alexandria circa a.d. 200 for a Hindu merchant. It 
reminded me of Herman Melville’s description of the South Pacific Queequeg 
in an ecstasy of prayer. 

Lovely drive to the Oasis of Tagiura with its grand, austerely simple mosque, 
one of the oldest, 1 believe, in this region. The forest of Antique columns 
reminds one of the cathedral of Cordova and the mosques of Damascus and 
Kairouan. Outside, in the village and in the palm groves, such remoteness from 
the West and at the same time closeness to Antiquity. Often 1 have wondered 
how a Roman wore his toga. Here rich and poor wear it, be it dazzling white 
or dirty greyish, new or in rags, and stride along utterly unaware of how 
Antique they look to us. Old men recline on stone benches waiting for the 
hour of the evening prayer, as distinguished and impressive as the figures in 
Bellini’s Naples ‘Transfiguration’. 

Back on our boat, received with the greatest cordiality and excellently cared for. 
Weather less favourable than on our outward voyage. A baby gbibli is trying to 
gather strength and makes the air oppressive and the sky glaring and leaden. But 
it is interesting to get the view of town and sea-front in this strange, somewhat 
sinister light, typical for the Mediterranean countries. Looking back on the 
three weeks spent in Tripoli I feel very grateful for a real rest cure in a world 
remote and secluded enough to create a sense of complete detachment from one’s 
usual routine of work and duties and worries. 


140 


Calabria June 1955 



120 San Marco, Rossano Calabro 



i2r Greek wig in bronze 
(fifth century n.c.J, 

Reggio Museum 


Gioia Ttiuro , Twenty years ago in the company of Alessandro d'tntreves, who then was 

June 2, u ) 55 teaching at Messina, I ferried over from that town to Reggio. 

Reggio then made a poor impression, dusty, discoloured, sordid. The works 
of art I had come to see were dumped in a shed where I could not enjoy them. 
Nor, l confess, did 1 find any to enjoy. 

We were not allowed to get away. I do not recall how' it happened but against 
our will we were taken to a house where a sort of banquet of every sort of fruit 
and pastry and drink was piled up for our refreshment. We had to be obstinate, 
rude even, to wrench ourselves free from this overpowering hospitality in time to 
catch the ferry-boat back to Messina. 

This time wc came to spend the night and most of the following day, to see 
the sights. 

To begin with let me say that Reggio now made a much better impression. 
A noble sea-front with gardens, animated broad streets rising in parallel terraces 
to fine public buildings. A feeling of intense life as at Catania across the water. 

The sights are not many: the Angevin Castle and the museum where now 
arc stored the Antique finds made in Calabria in recent years. Professor De 
Franciscis, the Superintendent of Antiquities for the whole region, took the 
trouble to have the museum opened for me in spite of its being a national holiday 
and guided us to the objects likely to interest an art lover rather than a professional 
archaeologist. I was greatly impressed by the marble head and feet and the 
bronze wig (unique of its kind, I believe) of a fifth-century statue, perhaps by the 
local sculptor Pythagoras of Rhcgium. 


* 4 2 


122 Greek head in marble (fifth century b.c:.), Reggio Museum ► 




123 Archaic Greek 
votive tablet from Locri, 
Reggio Museum 



I confess to enjoying even more a series of little terra-cotta tablets, like the 
predella panels of Italian altarpieces. All were ex-votos from a temple at Locri, 
dedicated to Persephone and most of them represent her rape by Hades. They 
differ in quality but the best are of as exquisite composition and contour as any 
other Greek low reliefs of about 500 b.c. 

As we were leaving the Sovraintendente did not fail to utter the cry I hear 
wherever I go, the cry for funds to carry on, in this case the excavations in Locri 
and elsewhere in Calabria. But the welfare state of today undertakes so much 


144 



124 Archaic Greek 
votive tablet from Locri, 
Reggio Museum 



that when it comes to art it behaves like the middle-aged patient whose doctor 
warned him it was time to give up wine, women and song. He said he would 
begin with song. Did not even the British Museum a year or two ago propose 
to be open only in part and on alternate days to save an infinitesimal sum com- 
pared to what is being spent on defence and material welfare! 

Except for the short visit to Reggio only twenty years ago, 1 had not returned to Gioia Tauro, 
Calabria since May and June, 1908. The roads were then little more than tracks June 3, 5 


145 


full of holes covered up by deep pockets of dust, the inns unspeakable, not even 
Neolithic slums, food scarcely eatable. I recall dismal efforts at chewing and 
swallowing a tough leathery something called genome which to my nose and 
palate smelled of old or aged ram or reverend hc-goat. I rather dreaded returning 
to Calabria. 

This time I found roads as pleasant as anywhere, nearly all asphalted and 
often hedged with beds of oleanders, geraniums, lavender. They wriggle and 
corkscrew over steep ascents and descents and you sweep from high pass to low 
valley a thousand metres in half an hour. 

The little Jolly Hotels, successors to the ones started by Balbo at Jeffrcn, at 
Nalut, at Gadamcs in Tripolitania, offer every modern convenience and arc so 
standardized that if you have been to one you know what to expect of any other. 
Of course the personal equation of management and attention cannot be climi- 
nated, nor some dependence on local conditions for food and service. As a rule 
the management is in the hands of north Italians (again as in Balbo's hotels in 
North Africa) and chiefly from Trieste. In one case the director was of Bernese 
origin and his wife from Berlin. What waifs and strays hotel and restaurant 
personnel are! One seldom finds the same waiter after a season or two even in the 
most luxurious hostelries. They seem possessed by even more urge for change of 
place, for otherness than the rest of us. An elderly head-waiter with a face and 
expression as jovial and ironical as the English Punch confessed to having 
served on transatlantic liners, in restaurants and hotels in London, New York, 
Buenos Aires and now per tnio castigo he found himself where we had the 
pleasure of enjoying his too brief acquaintance. 

To return to the Jolly Hotels: their high American standard of comfort and 
the comparative inferiority of the food reminded me of what the president of a 
congress of French hotel-keepers proclaimed as recently as some twenty-five 
years ago: ‘Nous ne revons pas a imiter les ameliorations scatologiqucs des 
Anglo-Saxons mais nous insistons sur la bonne cherc a laqucllc nous autres 
Fran$ais sommes habitu 's.' This president would not approve of the American 
standard of feeding and I would agree with him. It is due, in part at least, to the 
fact that in no other country do false teeth prevail so much as among us Ameri- 
cans and my own experience teaches me that with one's own teeth disappears 
much of the intelligent enjoyment of good food. Indeed, docs not a popular 
American revivalist preacher of hygienic feeding begin his sermon by saying: 
‘Since it docs not matter to you what you cat, you might as well stoke with 
things that arc good for your health.' 

Cosenza, I did not read up for this tour of ten days in Calabria. Yet memory retains 
June 4, 195 5 impressions of much history and travel perused many years ago. For instance 


146 




125 Edward Lear: 'View of Keggio’, lithograph 


the Reverend Tate Ramage, who early in the nineteenth century roamed in these 
parts in the summer, carrying a huge sunshade, dressed in white nankeen trousers 
and a frock-coat, the ample pockets of which contained his entire luggage. Or 
Lenormant with the treasure trove of distilled information of every kind about 
every place in Calabria as well as Apulia. Or Edward Lear, the painter who 
accompanied his lithographed landscapes with very subtle annotations on 
colour effects, on customs and inns and people. Gregorovius likewise and J. A. 
Symonds. And above all Norman Douglas’s Old Calabria, now an English 
classic which, as Lenormant’s A trams I'Apulie et la Lticanie, I have read again 
and again. 8 While it would not yield up definite dates or names, memory trailed 
— so to speak — tapestries, faded but fascinating, of historical association, 
digested, assimilated, forming part of me as no recent reading ever could. 

So as we drove northward, this or that episode, this or that name connected 
with the Greek colonization of Calabria came into my mind, then the Germanic 
hordes on their way to Africa, and finally the Norman invasion synchronizing 
with the Norman conquest of England, and all the intestine struggles between 
the turbulent descendants of Tancred of Hautcvillc, devoured with lust for 
power and pelf, and the final triumph of Roger, the conqueror of Sicily. 


147 



126 Edward Lear: ‘View of Scilla*, lithograph 


As wc passed through Milcto 1 recalled that for some years it was politically 
as important as London or Paris and that its churches, palaces and treasures 
must have ranked with the best then being produced. All have disappeared in 
earthquakes that made the ground open and swallow up everything that stood 
on it. 

Often do I wonder what excavation, when if ever it comes around to it, will 
bring to light marvellous buried treasures. Porphyry columns, capitals wind' 
swept or carved into baskets, coloured marbles of every kind, mosaics-— in short 
all the best that Byzantine art at that time could furnish and probably superior 
to what still remains in and near Palermo. 

I remember how in 1908, passing through the miserable village to which 
Milcto was reduced, wc heard of what had just happened there: a priest poisoned 
in the chalice or stabbed to death at the moment of elevation. 

At Coscnza where now a too up'to'date bridge, called Ponte Alarico, crosses 
the Buscnto 1 was stirred almost to tears as I recalled Platen's exquisitely cvoca' 
tivc verses about the burial of Alaric in the bottom of that stream. Carducci has 
translated them as well as possible, but the music of one language cannot be 
reproduced in another. 


148 





127 Edward Lear: ‘View of Gcrace\ lithograph 


But let me go back to our start from Reggio where, by the way, we were com/ Cosenza , 

fortably lodged and very well fed in a non Jolly inn on the sea-front and in June 5, 19$ 5 

process of renovation. We drove along the sea, a riviera as beautiful as the 
Ligurian or French only not suburbanized, not contaminated by greased papers 
and empty cigarette packages, not overcrowded nor infested by advertisements 
as are so many stretches of the road along the sea from Marseilles to Livorno. 

Gioia Tauro, our first stop, we choose not only because of its having a Jolly 
Hotel but so as to go to Gerace the next day. Leaving Gioia Tauro one passes 
through forests of olives as tall and graceful as elms. As we climbed these were 
succeeded by chestnuts and then by ilexes and finally by beeches. On reaching 
a height of almost 1,000 metres we came through a treeless high plateau of huge 
ferns and then only started plunging down towards our destination and into a 
very different world from the Tyrrhenian one. Few trees, no amenity, greyish 
white and reddish rocks of bold shape and very little arable land. On clear days 
the view of the coast towards Crotonc and to Sicily opposite must be matchless 
but a heavy scirocco wrapped up everything in mist. Only the nearer heights of 
the Aspromonte were visible. 

I cherished in memory the impression of Gerace on a golden May morning in 


149 



1908. The town still alive, the cathedral radiant with its procession of elegant 
Ionian columns along the spacious nave. Now the church was dreary and dusty 
under restoration and the town abandoned. Even the bishop has transferred 
himself to the thriving Locri down on the coast. A patent instance of the shuttle 
going backward and forward on the loom of time. Decline of prosperity, dis^ 
inclination to work that was unremunerative, followed by malaria and piracy 
drove the remaining coast/dwellcrs to the heights. Now that healthful condi' 
tions and prosperity arc returning to the shore it is the turn of the heights to be 
abandoned. It is foreseeable that in two or three decades Gerace will be as 
deserted as the exquisite town ofEvenos high above Toulon in Provence. 

But once the restoration of the cathedral is completed it will remain one of the 
rare sites of Italy that are perhaps even more nostalgically evocative through 
being no longer inhabited. 

Cosenza , Market day at Nicastro, where we lunched on our drive from Gioia to Cosenza, 

June 6 , lg 55 and a great many peasant women about selling and buying and in their tradi' 


150 


tional costume. An ample, closely pleated black skirt is lifted up over a red 
petticoat and tied into a great loop behind, thus forming a sort of ‘panier\ It 
may be an eightecntlvccntury fashion still worn in this quiet corner. The 
majestic gait of these women is wonderfully accentuated by the movement of 
the panicr. 

After a drive through parklike mountain country, and a magnificent descent 
into the wide valley of the Crati, suddenly a town in an orgy of festivity. 
Arches pearled over with electric bulbs, crowds so packed that the car had to 
nuzzle its way through them, booths selling every kind of goods and every type 
of fancy rubbish. The following evening till nearly midnight, banging, bomb/ 
ing, bursting of fireworks. Beautiful as they scattered jewels of all colours in 
peai>shapcd patterns. Must cost millions and millions of lire, easily collected we 
were told from the townsmen. No doubt some of it comes back through trade 
at the fair that for days draws the countryside. Streets full of young people 
bursting with health and good/looking, even handsome, all having a glorious 
time in ideally favourable weather. 

The pretext for all this? The Feast of San Francesco of the neighbouring town 
of Paola. 

Years and years ago, the younger Lacaita, the English son of the Risorgimento 
exile Sir James Lacaita, owner of an estate near Taranto, rejoicing still in the 
charming Greek name of Leucaspide, recounted how he had once been present 


29, 130 Byzantine enamelled cross, Bishop's Palace, Cosenza 



1 5 1 Head of die Madonna, detail from the 
Tomb of Isabella of Aragon, Coseuza Cathedral 


at Paola itself during the celebration of 
its great saint. He heard cries of, ‘Who 
is the real San Francesco? Is it San Fraiv 
ccsco of Sales? No! Is it San Francesco 
Saverio? Never! Above all it is not that 
impostor, that pretender, that mischief' 
maker Francesco of Assisi! The only 
real San Francesco is our San Fran-' 
ccsco, San Francesco of Paola*. 

The old part of Coscnza is a noble 
town with a main street of stately pah 
aces. In one of these, as our dear friend 
Count Tancredo Tancrcdi pointed out, 
was the birthplace of the Renaissance 
humanist Bernardino Telesio. In the 
cathedral the marble tomb of Isabella 
of Aragon (died 1270) with kneeling 
figures not Tuscan nor yet French 
but worthy of either school. In the 
Bishop’s Palace a Byzantine cross 
said to have been brought back by 
Frederick Stupor Mmuii from his cru^ 
sade in Palestine. As enamel still of best 
artisanship but as drawing not quite of 
the same high quality. Perhaps done in 
Constantinople soon after its sack in 
1204 and the flight of the more impotv 
taut artists. 

In the afternoon our friends took us 
up to the Monte Scuro, the pass from 
which one looks across the high plateau 
of the Sila with its forests and pistachio 
green lakes to the bold outline of the 
mountain chain dividing it from the 
Ionian Sea. I was reminded of a fasciiv 


ating dream landscape in an ‘Assump' 
tion of the Virgin’ by Matteo di Giovanni of Siena now in the National 


Gallery of London. How that reminder helped me to feel the particular quality 
of what I was looking at and how recalling it in the presence of the picture 
will enhance it for me! 


152 


13 z Tomb of 
Isabella of Aragon, 
Coscnza Cathedral 


Castrovillari , 
June j, njss 


Castrovillari, 
June 8, njss 


On leaving Cosenza wc went out of our way to sec Altomonte Calabro before 
reaching Castrovillari. Country as empty as any in France but incomparably 
more dreamy and more romantic. Jagged mountains tending towards the pyra/ 
midal, and plains that thousands of years ago must have been lakes. Scarcely 
any farms to be seen and very few villages. All roads, even side roads, in excels 
lent condition and clear indications at every turn. It stirred my envy as, except 
for the few asphalted highways, the roads 1 frequent from my house near 
Florence arc almost everywhere in poor condition and consequently so dusty 
that if a car precedes one’s own, driving becomes a distressing and even an 
exasperating pleasure. If only wc had a Cassa della Toscana to remedy this and 
much else! 

At last Altomonte appears, a real eyrie rising high over precipitous ravines. 
It is topped by a towerdike palace reminding one of the Palazzo Tolomci in 
Siena. The church in turn recalls modestly, ever so modestly, Santa Chiara in 
Naples. Behind the high altar a fine sepulchral monument of Filippo Sangineto, 
Count of Altomonte, by a follower of Tino di Camaino (plate 135), and over 
one of the outside portal s a Madonna in the same Francodtalian style as the one 
of Isabella of Aragon in Cosenza Cathedral. 

Castrovillari not much more attractive than it was in 1908 but certainly much 
cleaner and through its Jolly Hotel it has become an excellent centre for cxcur/ 
sions. How different from the loathsome lodgings I had to put up with in 1908! 
The next day through Spezzano Albancsc with no Albanian costumes visible 
anywhere and through Terranova di Sibari with its enchanting view of the 
great half moon of mountains framing in the valley of the Crati; then skirting 
Corigliano Calabro we reached Rossano. An elegant little town high over the 
Ionian Sea full of Byzantine remains, none however of interest to a dilettante like 
me except the exquisite little church of San Marco (plate 120) crowning the 
other buildings. It is the cruciform structure with its towerdike dome that in 
various sizes exists all over the Orthodox Christian world from Vladimir and 
Suzdal in central Russia to the Caucasus and Armenia in the south and to rough 
rustic versions like those in Tarrasa in Catalonia and San Donato at Zara. 

The most important sight of Rossano which for years I had been longing to 
see, the Codex Purpureus Rossanensis , has meanwhile been shown to me at the 
great exhibition of illuminated manuscripts in Italy held in Rome in 1953-4 
and I did not even try this time to get any of the complicated permits necessary 
for obtaining access to it in the Bishop’s Palace. 

An inn with at least one spacious clean and comfortable room for my indis' 
pcnsable siesta and a trattoria run by a jolly ex/sailor who had been a prisoner in 
England and had brought back no resentment for the way he had been treated 


154 



133 Chiesa Madre, 
Altomomc Calabro 



there. We asked him whether there was anything in the rumour of the English/ 
women having appreciated the company of the Italian prisoners so much and 
with a radiant smile he answered, ‘Qualchccosa di vero ci potrebbe essere*. 
I enjoyed the cordial familiarity of our convives among themselves and the 
atmosphere of friendliness toward the passing stranger that one meets with so 
frequently in popular restaurants in Italy as nowhere else. 


155 



134 Santa Maria del Patirion, near Kossano Calabrn 


in the afternoon we drove up a precipitous road consisting entirely of hairpin 
turns with no parapets through a solitary maccbia of ilex, yellow broom, myrtle, 
lentisk and laurel to the Basilian monastery of Patirion, no longer a home of 
prayer and meditation but serving the Forestry Department. Only the church 
remains, with a choir entirely Siculo^Arab as architecture, decorated with 
lozenge pattern in two colours, caramel and chocolate. The rather neglected 
interior has a floor mosaic, now dilapidated but originally perhaps as fine as the 
one in Otranto Cathedral. 

The view ranging over the headlands towards Crotone and the coast of 
Sybaris to the Pollino group and other heights beyond. In clear weather I 
imagine the coast of Sicily may be visible too. During our trip the further 
distance was constantly veiled by summer mists. 

The descent with the mountain on one side and hundreds of feet of precipice 


156 


135 Tomb of 
Filippo Sangineto, 
Chicsa Madrc, 
Alcomonte Calabro 



to the plain below alarmed me and 1 confess to a feeling of real relief when we 
reached the highroad and speeded back to Castrovillari. 

As we passed again under the higlvperched Corigliano we had to slow up 
because the road was crowded with people, the older ones on donkeys, the 
younger ones on bicycles or motorcycles or Lmbrette. Close by stood a huge bilb 
board announcing that the fields we were passing had been reformed, that is to 
say allotted to the — I forget whether it said contadini or agricoltori. As I looked 
back at Corigliano 1 saw two or three or more huge buildings, high and por^ 
tentous, just put up to house these beneficiaries of the land reform. 

I am not a sociologist, politician, economist or philanthropist. But having 
been nearly everywhere in that problenvchild of contemporary Italy, the Mezzos 
giorno, I venture to say that the real Mezzogiorno, that is to say Italy below 
Salerno and Luccra, suffers more from the absentee peasant than from the 
absentee landlord. True the latter spends the stingy income of his broad acres in 
Naples, Rome or even Monte Carlo or Paris. But much would be different if 
the Mezzogiorno had a peasantry, 1 mean people who from generation to 
generation live on a plot of ground, work it, love it, prefer it to any other spot 
on earth, even as Horace loved Taranto. In Tuscany it is not rare to find poderi 
that have been worked by the same family for over two hundred years. There 
are relatively very few real contadini in the Mezzogiorno. Instead there are agrb 
cultural labourers who used to walk miles to the plot of ground momentarily 
allotted to them, returning every evening to the huge slum agglomerations 
where they felt at home. At home in Neolithic conditions inconceivable to those 
who consider American comforts indispensable, but enjoying nevertheless life, 
real living, more, perhaps far more, than we do. 

They are not being settled on the land. On this journey 1 have seen few cot' 
tages going up compared to the number of huge new barracks for agricultural 
labourers, providing vertical instead of horizontal slums. 

Even if one tries to settle the agricultural labourer on the soil (I know it is 
being done in many regions and have seen very neat and promising looking 
cottages, particularly in Apulia) it will take two or even three generations 
before he becomes a peasant. Meanwhile he will feel wrenched from his habits, 
from his associates and the close contact with their excitements, their sorrows, 
their joys, all that made living taste like life. He will be unhappy, disgruntled 
and full of resentment against a government that means to do its best for him and 
will be ready to vote against it even without prompting from Sovict'minded 
agitators. 

Praia a Mare, On reaching Mormanno after the magnificent climb from Castrovillari with the 
June g, ig$$ view of the sombre pyramidal Pollino group on our right, the car came to a full 


Ij8 



stop. Luckily a garage was at hand and after less than an hour’s delay we started 
again. Trouble like this with a car had not occurred for so long that I could not 
recall when it last happened. Memory went back to nearly fifty years ago when 
1 never started out in a car without a timetable in my pocket on the probability 
that I should have to return by train. Mechanics were inadequate if regarded as 
domestics and not as sportsmen who condescended to serve you, and would 
frequently be unfit to drive because they had spent the night carousing or lecher/ 
ing. Then there was the lighting of the acetylene lamps which took forty to 
fifty minutes. And the roads! Even the great highways from Turin to Udine 
were apt to be, from October on, a marsh of mud and slush. 

Wonderful descent to the coast by another precipitous road cut out of the rock 
and winding its way through a narrow defile. At Scalea we reached the new 
great highroad along the sea and soon after the Jolly Hotel of Praia a Mare, a 
prosperous small sea resort with a Homeric island opposite to it and enchanting 
view on the heights encircling the Gulf of Policastro. A good place for a day 
of complete rest and enjoyment of sea air and a spectacular sunset under the 
shelter of fabulously romantic rocks. 

Our next stop for lunch, Vallo di Lucania, not too attractive, which may Naples', 

have been partly due to the rainy weather. A good trattoria but no hotel attached June it, U ) 55 

to it and we were sent to the so/called inn which looked to me like a broken/ 

down palace of the time when provincial aristocracy still stayed at home. A bare 

but clean room was provided for my siesta, only before entering it 1 had to 

present my passport. 1 wonder what they made of it! The trattoria was ringing 


36 Mosaic floor (detail), 
Santa Maria del Patirion, 
near Rossano Calabro 



with the merriment of the small children of the cook/proprictor. A real bottegone 
scene which Velasquez and Picaresque novels have taught me to appreciate. 

Then on through magnificent chestnut woods and longing to take the roads 
that we saw turning off to the headland of Palinuro and to Velia. At my age 
my motto has got to be, ‘Entbehrcn sollst Du, Du sollst entbehren*, for many 
are the things I have to give up to spare my strength. I should gladly have seen 
Velia again, the Elea of the Elcatic school of philosophy to which it offered a 
worthy situation. 

Suddenly far below us the sparkling sea and what did my eyes behold? More 
romantic than the first glimpse of Segesta as you approach it from the north, arc 
the temples of Paestum. One of the most magical and promising visions I ever 
beheld. As we drew near I was distressed to find the temple area surrounded by 
barbed wire, and instead of the feeling hitherto experienced of the remote, the 
long ago in time, automobiles in numbers with hordes of tourists pouring out 
of them. 

The new museum houses relatively few finds from Paestum itself and all that 
was dug up in and around the Heraeum of the Foce del Selc. 

It seems to me a great pity in a way not to leave these finds in that enchanting 
meadow close to the river, with its wooded banks and the branches of huge old 
cork oaks dipping into the green current. To the waterless Greek pioneers it 
must have seemed a paradise. Even to me years ago when Zanotti Bianco kindly 
invited me to come and see what, after reading a few words of Strabo, he had the 
vision, the courage and the persistent endurance to carry through, that clearing 
in the forest near the river’s mouth suggested a spot like the one Odysseus 
landed on and heard Calypso singing at her loom. 

Then the Archaic metopes were still lying about in the open or in sheds and 
the serious student could discover and enjoy them for himself without being 
jostled by bored and weary tourists. 

Possibly the reconstruction of a Doric temple such as the Heraeum once was 
would have been a better solution than the present one for housing the various 
finds. The metopes would have found their proper place and the other objects 
could have been adequately shown in the interior. But perhaps the decline from 
poetry to archaeology is inevitable. 

* 

My long/cherishcd dream of revisiting Calabria has been realized even if sites 
that I longed to see again like Stilo and Crotonc have had to be cut out from my 
programme. Though poor in monuments and works of art as compared to 
other regions of Italy it is one of the finest in its classical severity, its wide 
prospects of utterly unspoilt landscape and one of the most delightful to visit and 
even to linger in. 


11 Apse of Sant'Apollinarc in Classe, Ravenna, 
with the Transfiguration’ in mosaic (middle of sixth century a.d.) 









The Romagna September 1955 



t 37 Sant'Apollinarc in Classc, Ravenna 


III 'The Emperor Justinian I with his Suite and Archbishop Maximian’, mosaic 
(middle of sixth century a.d.), San Vitale, Ravenna 


l6l 




i?8 Mosaic in the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, Ravenna 


Ravenna , Left Vallombrosa yesterday to come here. Radiant but crisp weather, sky 

September iS, crystal clear, landscape like a cosmic illuminated page. From Pontassieve to 

Dicomano almost a continuous suburb, a gay prosperous one. Busy traffic on 
the Muraglione road. Towns, after eight years since we were in these parts, so 
grown on outskirts, so bustling with activity as to be unrecognizable. Again I 
ask: Italy, where is your so much publicized poverty? The contrast between sun 
and shade, except in midsummer, is startling in Italy. I look at old palaces 
glowing in the sun but I know from experience how icy and cheerless they are 
within, out of the sunshine. Is something like that possible with the economic 
aspect of things? That behind the bustle, the fervid activity, the shops, the 
crowded cafes and restaurants, there is a shady side — not shady in the moral but 
in the economic sense— that is known only to economists, to philanthropists? 

Ravenna, The kind, the epoch, the school used to absorb me so much that the individual 

September ig, ig$$ work of art lost its specificity in my affection. I used to know all that was known 

about, about what, about in No, about the genre, early Christian, Byzantine, 


162 


Romanesque, Gothic. I threw my entire self into one or the other of these and 
lived each in succession. It, the individual, the specific work of art was a needle 
in the haystack of the genre. Indeed 1 never asked whether, apart from the 
about, there was an it. Now, here at Ravenna, for instance, I discover that 1 have 
forgotten most of the about . It has grown dim and vague, reduced to a mere 
atmosphere. The result is that only the objects that have an it , a quality within 
a style, remain. So yesterday I was overwhelmed by the space of San Vitale 
(colour plate 111), the mosaics of Galla Placidia, the nave and the sarcophagi of 



139 Mausoleum of 
lalla Placidia, Ravenna 




Sant’Apollinare in Classe (colour plate 11 and plate 137), the severe and pre/ 
cise masonry of Theodoric’s tomb, his porphyry sarcophagus, all as sheer 
beauty. Yet 1 have not lost what makes up most of the about, the perspective, the 
distances of or in time. Without them I should be like so many practising 
artists who judge a thing by what appeals to them, their caprice and their 
problems exclusively, unable to allow for the awkwardness, uncouthness, 
but also naivete and candour of immaturity. I have lost facts, lost names, lost 
nearly everything that constitutes the about , nearly all except the perspective and 
procession of time which is really the sense that makes culture. The cultivated 
person places everything in perspective of time. It is never out of his mind and it 
affects not only works of art but also current events. 

And what is history if not temps retrouve ? It is the autobiography of the human 
race in general and, for us Europeans, of ours in particular. Everything that has 
led up to us since we became human. Events that have not affected our growth 
or led up to significantly dynamic events are mere chronicle as distinct from 
history. Even a chronicle does not comprise remotely all that has happened. 
Most happenings remain unrecorded even by the daily, the hourly press. There-' 
fore history can never pretend to record all that has happened. It can try to guess, 
and the best guesses rely on the intuition, on the imagination of the historian, on 
the perspective he gives to the events that impose themselves and that he surrep' 
titiously selects for his epoch. Real history, as distinguished from chronicle, 
cannot avoid being epic, good or bad but epic. More than pscudo^philosophy 
and pretentious generalizations, a significant anecdote evokes the past and 
characterizes individuals who have been engaged in influencing and shaping it. 
History is not something that inexorably marches on regardless of mankind. On 
the contrary, it is composed of the history of individual creeds, passions, follies, 
heroisms in contrast with a universe that knows us not and goes its own way. 
The account of how man has managed to subdue this outer world to his needs, 
to his pleasures, to his ideals, the struggle to master nature, to exploit it despite 
nature’s utter indifference, is a great chapter of history. So is anything that has 
helped to humanize us, to give us command of our passions, to feel for others. 
Art history likewise, properly understood, is not one of mere happenings to 
artists and to their creations. 

Ravenna, In June, 1889, when I first came here, Ravenna seemed to lie at the bottom of 

September 20, 19$ 5 the sea of time, almost as silent as the grave. A footfall made an echo. Now it is 

hustling with terrific traffic, bicycles lining the roads like a solid barrier, every 
kind of motor vehicle dashing backwards and forwards, torrents of sturdily 
vital people, policemen directing the traffic, huge ponderous office buildings 
offending the sky-line. 


164 



140 Facade of the 
Tc m p io Mali rest i ano, 
Rimini 



The same in Rimini where we had not been since 1947. I then went there on 
purpose to see with my own eyes what the bomb damage to the Tempio 
Malatestiano had been. The Superintendent of Fine Arts came over from 
Ravenna to meet me and together we looked at the building, its right wall 
dangerously inclined and out of plumb. He explained that the only way of 


165 



14 i West wall of the Tcmpio Malatcstuno, Rimini 


saving it would be to take down the ma/ 
sonry stone by stone, numbering them 
and then reconstructing it. He seemed 
frightened by the gigantic task and very 
timid about undertaking it. As we 
were looking at the H^adc a deputation 
appeared headed by the bishop and the 
mayor of the town who, knowing that 
1 had been successful in getting 50,000 
dollars from the Kress Foundation for 
the restoration of the Tcmpio, wanted 
me to support them in not having it 
done. They kept urging that the conv 
munity was impatient to worship in its 
own cathedral, that so radical a restotw 
tion might change the wanted aspect of 
the cherished temple, that the marble 
blocks taken down one by one might 
end by crumbling. I got the clear inv 
pression that what they really wanted 
was to have the money available for 
other things and I had great difficulty in 
not losing my temper altogether. For' 
tunatcly the Dirczione Gencrale in 
Rome did not pay the slightest attention 
to these complaints and hesitations and 
had the work carried through mag' 
nificcntly. It made me happy to see it 
completed and to find Piero della Fran' 
ccsca’s fresco of Sigismondo Malatcsta 
well placed and lit in a chapel by itself. 


Ferrara, Spent an hour in the Palazzo dei Diamanti and found the picture gallery 

September 21 , 19$$ dreary and abandoned, the paintings, with very few exceptions, disappointing. 

Their glory has departed with the zest 1 had for classifying them. During the 
time I was there only one other visitor appeared. In the magnificent courtyard 
some fine late Antique fragments and sarcophagi attracted my attention. In a 
corner I discovered a sign, ‘Musco Boldini’, a glory of Ferrara. What would 
have become of him if he had remained there and never gone to Paris? Got a 
guard to open two or three spacious rooms where were exhibited some good 



142, 14? Giovanni Boldini: Two sketches lor portraits, Musco Boldim, Ferrara 


etchings, several sketches for portraits and other unrepresentative paintings, his 
palette, etc., and the Empire furniture of his bedroom. 1 knew him well. Di$' 
agreeable, rather dandiacal personality, looked as if he had a nasty taste in his 
mouth. As artist, ultra'chic, particularly when portraying elongated society 
ladies painted as if with translucent glass, very taking and with a certain dash 
and pep even. 

Could not resist the temptation of getting back to Pomposa. Its monumental Ferrara, 
belbtowcr rose mysteriously over the fertile plain with its long lines of poplar September 22, 1955 
trees just as it used to when I first approached it in a lumbering landau on a hot 


167 




144 Pomposa Abbey 


summer day many decades ago. When we got near there was a change even 
here. The new high road from Venice to Ravenna passes close by and a party 
of tourists were packing into a motor bus just as we drove up. It is not the same 
world^forgotten, dreanvlikc place any longer, but as shadows lengthened and 
the buildings and tower glowed in the sunset light, I was able to recapture some 
of the old enchantment. 


168 



Florence June to July 1956 



14 j Master of the Gastello ‘Nativity’: ‘A nnunciation’, San Giovannino dci Cavalieri, Florence 


169 



Instead of wandering to distant lands as I have been doing for many years 
during the early summer months, I have stayed in Florence and dedicated what 
little energy 1 still muster to renewing my acquaintance with the inexhaustible 
art treasures of Florence and to discovering my present relations to them. 

My first task has been to see the Uffizi again and luckily Filippo Rossi, the 
Superintendent of Fine Arts, has granted me permission of entry on days when 
the gallery is shut to the public so that I can have it all to myself. A privilege I 
am deeply grateful for. 

Found the first half completely theatralized. The effect is startling and fetch-' 
ing. Do the inventors of this flashy way of exhibiting them regard works of art 
as incapable of inviting attention when left to themselves? The greatest of them 
talk not with the storm, not with thunder and lightning, but with a still, small 
voice. Perhaps it takes an Elijah to hear it and the tourists in chain gangs 
‘peritonized’ through the bowels and halls of a museum are scarcely Elijahs; nor, 
if they were, could they enjoy the leisure of spirit, or indeed in the hustling 

crowd, yelled at by guides, see and feel. 

146 Paolo Uccello; ‘The Drunkenness of Noah’ (detail), All i$ now done to hustle them through 

detached fresco from the Chiostro Verde, Santa Maria Novella, Florence museums, not to teach or enlighten 

them. 

To the Pitti where the curator, Anna 
Maria Ciaranfi, receives me most hos' 
pitably on the day of cbiusura and leaves 
me to wander about a la recherche du 
temps perdu. Only unlike Proust’s rv 
encountered old friends, the faces and 
expressions are the same I looked at 
first nearly seventy years ago. I hear 
friends complain of the ‘olddashioned’ 
arrangement of the Pitti Gallery. To my 
eye it is entirely satisfactory. The jewels, 
the real masterpieces stand out clearly 
against a background of less important 
paintings. The effect is of a collection 
made by lovers of pictures and not by 
salesmen and showmen. It is to the 
credit of the Florentine Fine Art 
Administration that the old order has 
been respected as an historical monu/ 
ment of taste. 




V 


147 Master of the 
Castcllo ‘Nativity*: 
Miracle of St Benedict*, 
detached fresco from the 
cloisters of the Badiu, 
Florence 


Accompanied by Ugo Procacci to a large sort of workshop near Buontalenti’s 
grotto in the Boboli Gardens where various important detached frescoes are 
being admirably cleaned and restored. First and foremost Uccello’s ’Deluge’ 
and ’Drunkenness of Noah’ from the Chiostro Verde. In both, but particularly 
in the ‘Deluge*, the whole composition with its astonishing effects of perspective 
is now clearly visible. Sad only that they cannot be put back where they belong. 
Fascinating the series of episodes from the life of St Benedict that used to be in 


148 Master of the 
Castcllo ‘Nativity*: 
Leading lines under the 
‘Miracle of St Benedict*, 
Badia, Florence 





im 


y * 


149 Bronzino: ‘Laura Battifern’, 
Looser Bequest, Palazzo Vecchio, Florence 


150 Tino di Camaino: Angel, 
Loeser Bequest, Palazzo Vecchio, Florence 


the Chiostro dcgli Aranci at the Badia. Procacci assures me that documents 
revealing the name of the author and his dates must exist in the Florentine 
archives and that if only he was less pressed for time he could find them. 
Granted, but it would not teach us much more than we know already. The 
group to which these frescoes belong is clearly defined, clustering around the 
charming ‘Nativity* formerly at Gastello. The Master of the Castello ‘Nativity*, 
as I call him, must have been a close follower of Fra Angelico, influenced later 
by Fra Filippo and later still by Filippo’s son, Filippino. 

Turning round 1 noticed a heap of what looked to me like grey, dusty carpets 
or tapestries. ‘What are these?’ ‘Alas, frescoes that had to be detached all over 
Florence and that cannot be restored for lack of funds.’ It is surprising that if 
considerable funds were available for the not urgently necessary new arrange/ 


172 



merit of the Uflizi there should be none for prolonging the life of these precious 
invalids. The Soprintendenza plans to place them eventually in the convent oi 
the Carmine, calling it a museum of frescoes. Much as 1 regret their having to be 
torn from the places they were made for, this would seem the least bad solution. 

To the Badia, with not a soul to disturb one’s enjoyment of the Mino, the 
Filippino, and the Chiostro degli Aranci with the drawings remaining on the 
walls after the frescoes have been removed (plate 148 ). Elegance of every column, 
big and little, and vitality of all carving. 

To the Palazzo Vecchio where Giovanni Poggi, not being able to accompany 
us himself, delegated his assistant, Ispettorc Cirri, to guide us through this 
astonishing rabbit warren and to show us all the recent restorations and dis^ 
coverics. He took us through passages and rooms, some with exquisite ceilings, 
that 1 did not remember ever seeing before. Found the Loeser Bequest well 
displayed but, except for a few outstanding works of art like the Tino di 
Camaino angel and the Bronzino portrait of Laura Battiferri, less interesting 
than I remembered it. Or was 1 already too tired? There is too much to be taken 


151 Sala dci Gigli after restoration, Palazzo Vecchio, Florence 




in for one visit and we had to leave Eleonora’s Studiolo for next time. Rut 1 was 
glad to sec with my own eyes how much has been done under Poggi’s dis/ 
criminating direction. 

Back to the Uffizi to see the new arrangement of fifteenth/ and sixteentlvcentury 
rooms. Walls too white, pictures tend to be shown off as if being auctioned 
rather than allowed to speak for themselves. Yet on the whole the visibility has 
been increased and many are better accompanied, Botticelli especially well 
brought together. One is allowed to step back until the space relations and the 
depths of the ‘Primavcra’ are fully revealed. Opposite to it, Hugo van dcr Goes’s 
triptych (1 am not sure I enjoy the harsh contrast between such an actual and 
such an ideal world) takes one’s breath away the bundle of straw in the fore/ 
ground, the vase with the iris, the white damask of female robes, and above all 
the winter landscape. You feel like plunging a thermometer into it to measure 
the degrees of frost. No more precise drawing has ever been done, and in Europe 
none more refined and more delicate. Only Botticelli can be more subtle with 
more significant contours. 

The traffic in the streets is frightening for one so little used to going into town. 
1 generally arrive by car at my destination in a panic and am relieved if the 
driver can manage to stop without my having to cross a street. Maybe late at 
night or in the first morning hours one could still indulge in such old/fashioned 
pursuits as sauntering along, stopping in the middle of the street to stare up at 
facades of palaces and churches, meditating and dreaming. On the other hand, 
when one has just left the street with its noise and bustle, the quietness not only 
inside the churches but in the open cloisters at Santa Maria Novella, at San 
Lorenzo, in the Badia is almost unbelievable. Only a faint distant hum seems 
to reach these enchanted spaces. 

The silence in these cloisters, which prevailed in the Middle Ages at least as 
much as now, makes one realize how easy it was in those noisy and over/ 
crowded medieval towns to take refuge in them and to live a life of tranquil 
concentration. 

To the Accademia on an ordinary day and surprised to find it too relatively 
empty. One would expect the unique group of Michelangelo’s sculptures to 
attract vast crowds even if the paintings, except for the Lorenzo Monacos, per/ 
haps the Ghirlandaio and one or two quaint pictures of the fourteenth century, 
can only be of interest to the attributor. Same w ith most shows of Italian paint/ 
ings, like the Pontormos at the Palazzo Strozzi or the ‘Primitifs’ now exhibited 
in the Orangerie in Paris. Precious few in either would attract one for their own 


174 




152 Siudiolo of Eleonora after restoration, Palazzo Vccchio, Morencc 

qualities. The boiling interest is in questions of who did them and whose attri- 
bution is the right and whose the wrong one. Hence falsification of values and 
corruption of taste arc not as of old naively, but deliberately produced nowadays. 
Lxhibitionitis is a disease and not merely a figurative one. It should be put under 
control like other contagious diseases. Instead I learn that forty of Italy’s choicest 
paintings are soon to be trundled forward and backward to Washington and 
New York. 9 

Yesterday to the Ognissanti Church. Looked at Botticelli’s ‘St Augustine*. No 
picture of an intellect engaged on the highest problems compares with this, not 




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Bust of Michelangelo, 
Museo Buonarroti, Florence 


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even Durer’s, Michelangelo’s 01 Rembrandt’s. Realized plastically as draftsmans 
ship, modelling in colour, all in a most communicative way. Appurtenances 
painted with accuracy and understanding of w hat a thinking w r riter wants near 
him. And yet how little known, even to a cultivated public, and how unappre- 
dated! Curious, considering that Botticelli is among the favourites of the pre- 
sumable art lovers. Until Rossetti and Ruskin and English Pre-Raphaelites, 
and particularly Pater, discovered him he was scarcely known. Even Burck- 
hardt gave him scant attention, and other writers of nearly a hundred years ago, 





if they mentioned him at all, spoke of him as inferior to Ghirlandaio. Owing 
no doubt to Pater, I loved him at sight though it took decades before I under' 
stood him. 

To the Duomo. Had a good look at Michelangelo’s ‘Pieta* and was struck by 
two comparisons: one that the composition as a whole is based on the ‘Laocoon’, 
the other that the head of the Nicodemus is a self/portrait. I do not mean to say or 
imply that Michelangelo deliberately copied the ‘Laocoon’ or deliberately 


177 


portrayed himself in the Nicodemus. More likely he was unaware of doing 
either. Even great artists do their best unconsciously. I cited in my Aesthetics and 
History (or was it elsewhere?) the case of Matisse whom I reproached for being 
too Cambodian. He was genuinely amazed and denied my charge. I asked him 
to look at the walls of his studio bristling with cases of Cambodian reliefs. 
A young man, back from a long stay at Olympia, brought drawings that reeked 
of its sculptures and was distressed beyond words when I said they were good 
copies of them. He swore it was his natural way of seeing. 

Forty years ago 1 horrified fellow'Students of the art of the past by asking 
wherein Michelangelo as sculptor and sculptor only was other or more than a 
Pergamon artist reborn, or the result of a kindred or parallel evolution. 1 ask the 
same question still. The only answer I can give to explain the esteem in which 
he is held, while the Pergamon school is treated with a certain contempt, is that 
as an illustrator, and for us Christians both begotten and formed by Christianity, 
as culture, Michelangelo appeals through his tragically sublime feeling for life, 
through the divine discontent expressed in his marbles, through their brooding 
sense of things unborn. In short, it is as an illustrator that he appeals over' 
whelmingly and as artisan. He could imply and deeply express in stone what he 
had to communicate - although not all that he meant to communicate. 

My love for the Master of the Castello ‘Nativity’ has led me back to San 
Giovannino dei Cavalieri in Via San Gallo to reacquaint myself with a delight' 
ful ‘Annunciation* of his (plate 145). It shows already the influence of Filippino 
and must therefore be a late work. Found the church beautifully kept by a 
young parish priest who seems to care passionately for the works of art belonging 
to it. He has even managed to have a fine Lorenzo Monaco ‘Crucifixion’ 
returned from the Uffizi depot to its former place behind the altar. 

Happy to find the great Masaccio fresco in Santa Maria Novella admirably 
restored and in its own place. Did not remember the astonishing trompe I’ceil 
of an altar on which the Crucifix seems to rest now with the painting of the 
skeleton underneath it. 

The Chiostro Verde as attractive as ever and the drawings that have appeared 
under the detached Uccello frescoes well worth studying. Yet I feel nostalgic for 
the days when these frescoes were still in their place and tolerably visible. 

To the Ufficio del Rcstauro to look at paintings in process of restoration. 
X-rays, ‘ sinopie\ pentimenti\ the discovery of the painful gestation of the work 
of art destroys all aesthetic as contrasted with cerebral pleasure. It is the same as 
the various attempts at getting back to an Ur'Homer or an Ur'Pentateuch. One 


178 



155 Masaccio: 
‘The Holy Trinity 
with two Donors*, 
fresco, 

Santa Maria Novella, 
Florence 




ceases to enjoy them as literature or to take them as history, if only as Historia 
Komanca. One gets absorbed in the how or the why, having no interest in the 
what. All becomes mere philology. I would almost prefer to see a painting in no 
matter how bad a condition and dream of how much better it must have been 
once upon a time than have it torn to pieces the way philologists tear to pieces 
Homer, the Bible and other ancient texts. Time lays its hand on anything man 
does and more often as artist than as distorter. 

Wherever we go I find great improvements in the system of lighting up pictures 
and frescoes, as for instance in the Brancacci Chapel at the Carmine (fronds/ 
piece) or the Lorenzo Monaco chapel at Santa Trinita. There is only the dis^ 
advantage that the good light shows deterioration, dust and dirt almost too 


180 



harshly. The enchanting frescoes by Lorenzo Monaco at Santa Trinita, among 
the loveliest of the early Quattrocento, are fast disappearing. Could nothing be 
done to save them? 


By no means all the sights of Florence arc overcrowded, for many of them do not 
figure in the obligatory tourist programme. If you want to he undisturbed go to 
the Chiostro dello Scalzo, with the chiaroscuro wall-paintings by Andrea del 
Sarto, to the Castagno Museum, to the Innocenti Pinacoteca, to the Bard ini 
Museum (so attractive in its well displayed variety of medieval sculpture, art 
objects and Persian rugs) and above all to the incomparable Horne Museum. 
Incomparable not so much on account of its contents, interesting and worth 
studying as they may be, but for the purity of its architecture. I know no better 



158 Loggia, 
Museo Horne, Florence 


example of a Florentine Renaissance interior in which one still could live with 
modern comforts. 

Opera del Diiomo, renovated and now having as its chief attraction not only the 
two cantorie , one by Donatello and the other by Luca della Robbia, but Dona/ 
tello’s statues from the Campanile where they no longer could stand exposure 
to weather. Although we have no monumental figures by della Robbia, he was 
to a degree rare since the fourth century B.c. a sculptor through and through, 
while Donatello always impresses me as a painter with clay or stone or bronze 
instead of with pencil or pigment. How 1 wish l could make this as clear to 
others as it is to myself. 1 am intuitive and gnomic, at times epigrammatic, but 
have no gift for exposition, for finding entry into a recalcitrant mind. 


159 Donatello: Camoria (detail), Opera del Duomo, Florence 




160 Luca della Kobbia: Cantona (detail), Opera del Duomo, Florence 


I8J 


I o i Michelangelo: 
Prisoner, 

Accadcmia, Florence 



Back to the Accadcmia to have another look at the overwhelmingly impressive 
unfinished Michelangelos and at the ‘Palestrina Pieta\ In this group the right 
arm of Christ seems enormous while the thighs arc far too thin, the heave of the 
chest and abdomen utterly exaggerated. Head and face suggest advanced Sei' 
rather than early Cinqueccnto and yet, and yet? It somehow recks of Michel' 
angelo and if not by him it must be by somebody who meant to be taken for 


184 




him. Could it be Bernini as has been suggested; The whole group did not 
impress me, persuade me, convince me, as do the figures of the slaves struggling 
to escape the matter in which they are engaged. 


Received by Giulia Sinibaldi and her young assistant Maria Fossi in the print' 
room at the Uffizi where they eagerly show me the excellent new installation, the 


185 


163 Paolo Uccello: 
Fragment of a fresco, 
San Miniato, Florence 



facilities for students, the lighting and heating arrangements. How I wish I 
were able to take advantage of it all. The contrast with the cold discomfort I 
used to find there in my early days is almost comical. 

Driving up to San Miniato across the Piazzalc Michelangelo makes me recall 
what was reported to me, by a learned friend who had to accompany him, about 
Hitler's gazing at the famous view and exclaiming, ‘At last 1 understand 


1 86 


164 Pulpit, San Miniato, Florence ► 



Boccklin!’ The relation of this very classical view to anything as romantic and 
sensual as Boccklin is no more absurd perhaps than Hitler’s politics, so largely 
responsible for the purgatorial state of the world in which we now palpitate. 

In contrast to so much confusion of thought what order, what clarity, what 
distinction, what subtlety of composition, what delicacy of moulding in the 
facade of San Miniato! It anticipates all that is best in a Quattrocento design and 
makes one wonder whether, but for the Gothic invasion. Quattrocento archie 
tccturc would not have flowered much earlier. 

Inside the space is still rather medieval with a choir high over a crypt as, for 
instance, in the cathedral of Modena. Enchanting the exquisite lace/like pat' 
terns on the floor here as in the Baptistery at Florence. Fascinating the statue, as 
thickset and concentrated as a Sumerian one, that sustains the lectern of the 
pulpit. Of unsurpassable elegance the carving of all the cornices in a style almost 
confined to Florence. The walls of the nave covered with frescoes not done with 
an ornamental purpose but as ex/votos, pell-mell and one over the other. Near 
the entrance a colossal St Christopher in early Romanesque style reminding one 
of similar figures in northern Italy. Probably the work of a pilgrim painter. 

A perfect specimen of pure Quattrocento art, the chapel built for the tomb of 
a young Portuguese cardinal, is now permanently closed and I wonder with 
what purpose. There is nothing in it that free access could disturb or damage. 
Is it mainly a question of ‘baksheesh’? 

A youthful novice led us to the upper cloister to see the nearly effaced frescoes 
of Paolo Uccello. If 1 remember my Vasari right, the artist did not quite finish 
them because he got too bored with the monotonous food the monks provided 
for him. What strikes one about these sadly damaged scenes is the way they 
remind one of Donatello. How little respect artists of one period had for their 
colleagues of the previous one is shown by a late sixtccntlvcentury fresco over 
one of Uccello’s. 

Invited by Mario Gobbo, the head of the Azienda del Turismo, and by Piero 
Bargcllini, the Assessorc Comunale for Fine Art, to visit the Fortczza del Belve/ 
dere, a fortress at the very top of the town, commanding Florence and all its 
approaches to prevent any attempt of insiders and outsiders to get rid of Cosimo 
I, Duke of Florence. Employing engineers at a time when they still could not 
help being artists, he created an edifice that was architecture and sculpture com/ 
bined and not a mere machine for a given purpose. The Comune with the 
financial help of the Azienda del Turismo has managed to dislodge the military 
from it, to do away with later outbuildings and sheds, and to free the monu/ 
mental walls from the encumbering ramparts of earth. The work of restoration 
is still going on in the central building under the direction of the architect 


188 


165 Main entrance of the Fortczza del Belvedere, Florence ► 




Ncllo Bemporad. Soon it will be one of the finest sights of Florence. We 
enjoyed it on a late afternoon with the purest sky and all the way to the horizon 
every detail in the landscape appeared as in an illuminated fiftecntlvcentury 
manuscript. The novelty of seeing so clearly, so minutely, was positively lifi> 
enhancing; and how I delighted in the proportions, the masonry, the mouldings, 
the relief of all artifacts. 

With Procacci to the Villa Carducci at Lcgnaia to see the remains there of 
Castagno’s frescoes now at Sant’Apollonia. A compound of Trecento and 
Quattrocento buildings that must once have been a commodious patrician 
country house. Now occupied by peasants and artisans except for the rooms 
with the frescoes. Best preserved is a fine figure of Eve, as lovely as anything 
Castagno ever did. On the outside a window facing east witnesses to what the 
whole building must have been. Its cornices and mouldings are of the best 
quality, inspired by the Antique, like so much architecture seen in Florentine 
mid'Quattrocento painting and in Ferrarcse imitations of it. 

To San Martino alia Palma, one of the rare spots on earth where in appropriate 
weather one feels art and nature to be in perfect harmony. I call the church with 


166 Loggia of San Martino alia Palma, Scandicci 





9 








168 Medieval inscription, San Martino alia Palma, Scandicci 

its colonnades ‘a rustic Parthenon*. The material is of the most ordinary, 
common grey limestone and wood, but the columns are so exquisitely spaced, 
so delicately carved as to produce the effect of refined frames for the pictures 
furnished by the actual landscape. This too is a miracle. Fully sculptural hills 
more or less pyramidal, or at least triangular, rising up in places to 2,000 feet 
from a perfectly horizontal plain. The contrast between the pure geometry of 
the plain and the movement of the hills with their long, downward sloping 
lines is infinitely reposeful. 

Leaving the Loggia 1 am again struck by a dedicatory inscription of the 
thirteenth century, one of the most beautiful pieces of medieval lettering known 
to me. 

Drove back yesterday from Pratolino along the vast stretch of park walls and 
then across the Via Faentina to Fiesolc. The landscape was stretching westward 
and southward in early summer’s prime, yellow and green and gold, the distant 
horizons merely horizontal, and in between the sharp cut of the Mugnonc 
valley under Fiesole and beyond it Florence itself like a mirage. But for Wander > 
lust where else, what distant climes would offer more appealing, more captL 
vating scenery? Of course not the sublime spectacle of the Himalayas or the 
Alps. Everything more a la mesure de I* bom me and thereby more satisfactory. 


192 




Notes 


1 (Rome, May 20 1947: Page 18) In every probability it represents Tamar 
chased out of the Royal Palace by Amnon. See 2 Sam. xiii. 18-19. 

2 (Rome, October 29, 1950: Page 25) It has been published since this was 
written. See Ludwig Budde, ‘Severisches Relief im Palazzo Sacchetti*, 
Jabrbucb des Deutscben Arcbaeologischen Institute (Erganzungsheft 8c), Berlin, 
1955 - 

3 (Rome, November 2$, 1952: Page 31) It has now been returned to the new 
Palestrina Museum. 

4 (Messina, May 21, 1953: Page 70) It is now back at Dresden. 

5 (Messina, May 21, 1933: Page 70) Sec Cronachc d'Arte , Bologna, 1 924, page 
254. 

6 (Enna, May 2S , 1933: Page 82) Since then several other interesting mosaics 
and other fragments have been dug up and, most interesting of all, an 
inscription proving that the villa was built and inhabited by Maximian, 
one of the tctrarchs represented in the porphyry group at Venice. Sec Gino 
Vinicio Gentili, La Villa Romano di Piazza Amerind (Itinerari dei Musci 
e Monumenti d’ltalia 87), 2nd edition, Rome, 1954. 

7 (Palermo, June 12, 1933: Page 120) It has since been transferred to the newly 
arranged museum of medieval and Renaissance sculpture and painting in 
the Palazzo Abbatclli, Palermo. 

8 (Cosenza, June 4, 1933: Page 147) When 1 wrote these lines in 1955 ticorgc 
Gissing’s account of his trip to Calabria in 1 897 had slipped from my 
memory. The new edition (By the Ionian Sea f The Richards Press, London, 
1956) made me realize again what a gifted writer and acute observer this 
bitter pessimist was, and how prodigious his familiarity with classical literal 
turc and history. 

9 (Florence: Page 175) The project was finally dropped after violent protests 
from all sides. 


193 



Index 


Roman numerals refer to colour plates 

Numbers in italic refer to blacband^wbite illustrations 


Aqueduct of Claudius, i 
Acragas, sec Agrigcnto 
Agrigcnto, 64, 98-106, 128; 72 
Altar of the Chthonic Deities, 7S 
Cathedral, toi, 102; 74, 77 
Museum, 102; 75, 76 
Rupc Atcnca, 102 
7 ’emple of Concord, T04; 73, jg 
Temple of Zeus, 102; 75, 76 
Alaric, 95, 148 
Alatri, 23 
Alban hills, x8 
Altomonte Calabro, 154 
Chiesa Madre, 154; 133, 133 
A ndrea del Sarto, 1 8 1 
Angelico, Fra, 86, 172 
Annibaldi, Canon Giovanni, 46 
Ansel mi, Anselmo, 46 

Antique an, 20, 22, 25, 31-2, 70, 79, 90, 102-6, 
108, 1 1 3, t 17-18, 142, 166, 190 
Antonello da Messina, 70-2, 88; 47, 49 

Antwerp, Mu sec Royal, 70; 49 
A roentim, 130, 140 
Aspendus, 74 
Aspromonte, T49 
Assisi, San Francesco, 126 
Athens, 64, 102, 106 
Parthenon, 10 1, 106, in, 192 
Propylaea, 106 

Baalbek, 34, 136, 137 
Baghcria, 122 

Villa Palagonia, 122, 127; 99, loo 
Villa Valguarnera, 122 
Balbo, Italo, 146 
Baldovinetti, Alessio, 71 
Barbantini, Nino, 41 
Bargellini, Piero, 188 
Baroque art, 70, 88, 98; Sg 
Basaiti, Marco, 56 
Bassae, in 


Bastiani, Lazzaro, 39-40 
Battifcrri, Laura, 173; 149 
Bellini, Gentile, 64; 40 
Bellini, Giovanni, 46, 5 6, 71, 72, 140 
Bemporad, Nello, 190 
Bergamo, 40, 42, 44 
Santa Maria Maggiore, 24 
Berlin, 56, 136, 146 
Bernini, 185 

Bissolo, PierTranccsco, 56 

Boecklin, Arnold, 188 

Boldini, Giovanni, 166-7; 742, 143 

Bologna, 48 

Bottari, Stefano, 72, 95 

Botticelli, Sandro, 18-20, 34, 174, 175-6; 38 

Brandard, Edward, 63 1 103 

Bronte, 79 

Bronzino, Angelo, T73; 149 
Brydonc, Patrick, 95 
Budde, Ludwig, 193 
Burckhardt, Jakob, 176 
Buscnto river, 95, 148 

Byzantine art, 54, 58-64, 71, 92, 148, 152, 154, 
162 

Cagliostro, Alessandro, 127 
Cairo, 137, 139 
Calabria 

Agricultural reform and peasants, 158 
Books about, 146-7 
History of, 147-8 
Calascibetta, 80; 33 
Cambodian art, 178 
Caputo, Giacomo, 130, 132, 134, 136 
Caravaggio, 27, 52, 54, 56, 70 
Carducci, Giosue, 148 
Carricre, Eugene, 24 
Casale, 80 

Mosaics, 81-4, 86; 36, 57, 60 
Castagno, Andrea del, 181, 190; 167 
Castello, 172 


194 



Castcllo ‘Nativity’, Master of the, 172, 178; 14^, 
147, 148 

Cased vetrano, 106, ro8 
Municipio, 82 
Castro villari, 154, 158 
Catania, 72, 7 6, 78, 79, 130 
Cefalii, 64 
Museum, 47 
Cezanne, Paul, 72, 80 
Charles V, Emperor, 88 
Christus, Petrus, 72 
Ciaranfi, Anna Maria, 170 
Gicogna, Anna Maria (daughter of Giuseppe 
Volpi), 130, 134 
Cini, Count Vittorio, 41, 42 
Cirri, Giulio, 173 
Claude Lorraine, 36 
Colonna, Vittoria, 98 
Conspicuous waste, 53 
Constantine, 82, 52 
Constantinople, 52, 62, 108, 152 
Church of the Apostles, 60, 120 
Fatimieh Mosque, sec Church of the Apostles 
Karieh Djami, 64 
St Sophia, 60 
Cordova 
Cathedral, 140 
Palace of San Jeronimo, 92 
Corigliano Calabro, 154, 158 
Corot, Jcan/Baptistc/Camille, 36 
Cosenza, 95. 146, 149. 150, 152, 154 
Bishop’s Palace, 152; 130 

Cathedral, 152, 154; 232, 132 
Ponte Alarico, 1 48 
Cosimo I, 188 
Cousen, John, 72, £5, 102 
Crati river, 15 1, 154 
Crcdaro, 43 
Cyrene, 9 2, 130 

Daniele da Volterra, 25? 

Davies, William, 26 

Decamps, Gabriel/ Alexandre, 138 

Deformation of words, 76-8 

De Franciscis, Alfonso, 142 

Dc Gaspcri, Alcide, 70 

Delacroix, Ferdinand/ Victor/Eugene, 138 


De Roberto, Federico, 78 
Desiderio da Scttignano, 88 
Directoire style, 120 
Donatello, 32, 182, 188; i$g 
Douglas, Norman, 147 
Dresden, 70, 193 
Diirer, Albrecht, 176 

Economic conditions in Italy, 1 62 
Egesta, see Segesta 
Elea, see Velia 
Eleonora of Aragon, 61 
Embroidered copes, 84 6; 5#, 59 
Empire style, 28, 120 
Enna, 76, 80, 86, 88, 127 
Gastello Lombardo, 80 
Entreves, Alessandro d’, 142 
Erice, 108 
Castcllo, #3 

Etna, 74. 75* 7G 79, 80 
Exhibition architecture, 67 
Exhibitionitis, 175 

Ferrara, 166-7, 190 
Mu seo Boldini, 166-7; 142, 243* 

Palazzo dci Diamanti, 166 
Florence, 50, 70-1, 154, 169--90, 19 2 
Accadcmia, 174, 184; 262, 162 
Badia, 172, 173, 174; 247, 246' 

Baptistery, 188 

Bard ini Museum, 18 r 

Boboli Gardens, 17 1 

Branc icci Chapel, 180; 1 

Campanile, 182 

Castagno Museum, 181, 190 

Cathedral, 177; 254 

Chiostro degli Aranci, see Badia 

Chiostro dcllo Scalzo, 1 8 x 

Chiostro Verde, 171, 178; 146 

Fortezza del Belvedere, 188-90; 165 

Horne Museum, 181; 138 

lnnocenti Pinacoteca, 1 8 1 

Musco Buonarroti, 253 

Ognissanti, 175 

Opera del Duomo, 182; 1551, 160 
Palazzo Strozzi, 174 

Palazzo Vccchio, 173 -4; H9* 150, 252, 252 


195 



Florence, contd. 

Piazzale Michelangelo, 186 
Pitti, 170 

Ponte Vecchio, 50 

San Giovannino dei Cavalieri, 178; 143 
San Lorenzo, 174 
San Miniato, 186, 1S8; i6j t 164 
Sant’Apollonia, see Castagno Museum 
Santa Maria del Carmine, 173, 180; I 
Santa Maria Novella, 174, 178; 146 , 155 
Santa Trinita, 180-1; 256, 157 
Studiolo of Eleonora, 174; 152 
LJfficio del Restauro, 178 
Uffizi, 170, 173, 174, 178 
Print'room, 185-6 
Florence, environs of, 

San Martino alia Palma, 190-2; 1 66, 168 
Villa Carducci, 190; 167 
Foce del Sele, Heraeum, 160 
Fossi, Maria, 185 
Framing of pictures, 44-6 
Francesco di Giorgio, 46; 26 
Francis of Assisi, St, 40, 152 
Francis of Paola, St, 151-2 
Francis of Sales, St, 152 
Francis Xavier, St, 152 
Freccia del Sud, 130 

Frederick II, Emperor, 48, 84, 95, 152; qS 
Fry, Roger, 72 

Gaggim family, 88 
Gagliardi, Rosario, 95, 9 6 
Gardner Collection, 76 
Gela, 98 

Gcntili, G1110 Vinicio, 193 
Geracc, 149-50; 127 
Cathedral, 150; 128 
Ghirlandaio, Domenico, 174, 177 
Ghirza, 117 
Giannuizzi, Pietro, 46 
Gieseking, Walter, 52 
Gioia Tauro, 142, 145, 149, 150 
Giorgione, 38-9 
Giornale di Sicilia , 70 
Giovanni da LJdinc, 86 
Girgctiti, see Agrigcnto 
Gissing, George, T93 


Gobbo, Mario, 188 

Goes, Hugo van der, 174 

Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von, 95, 102, 126-8 

Goldoni, Carlo, 48 

Gothic art, 119, T62, 188 

Gregorovius, Ferdinand, 147 

Guidi, Giacomo, 82, 130, 132 

Hearing and Knowing , 52 
Heine, Heinrich, 95 
Henraux, Lucicn, 80, 96 
Hermannstadt (Sibiu), 70 
Hitler, Adolf, 186-8 
Homer, 180 
Horace, 158 

Iblean hills, 90 
lesi, 46 

Palazzo del Governo, 26 
Inns, hotels and restaurants, 26, 48, 67, 73, 80, 
90,94,98, 108, IIO-IT, 113, I46, 149, 154, 
159 “60 

Jppari valley, 98 

Isabella of Aragon, 152, 154; i ji, 132 

Julius II, 27 

Karnak, 34 
Keats, John, 108 
Klosterneuburg, 64 
Kress Foundation, 166 

Lacaita, Giovanni, 151 

Lacaita, Sir James, 151 

Laurana, Francesco, 88, 96, 106; 6/, 62, So 

Lear, Edward, 147; 125, 126 , 127 

Lenormant, Francois, 147 

Leonardo, 46 

Leopardi, Giacomo, 79, 108 
Leptis Magna, 130, 134-7; ni 
Basilica of Septimius Scverus, 113, 114 
Forum of Septimius Scverus, 112 
Port, 137 
Theatre, 136; 2/5 
Limoges enamels, 10 1 
Lippi, Filippino, 172, 173, 178 
Lippi, Fra Filippo, 172 
Locri, 144, 150; 123, 124 


196 



Locscr Bequest, 173; ljg, no 
London, 26, 70, 146, 148 
British Museum, 145 
National Gallery, 44, 76, 152; $1 
Westminster Bridge, 74 
Longhena, Baldassare, 38, 41 
Loreto, 46 
Santa Casa, 27 

Lotto, Lorenzo, 40, 42-8; 23, 24, 2^ 

Maccrata, 48 
Maganuco, Enzo, 79 
Malatcsta, Sigismondo, 166 
Malraux, Andre, 52 
Manfred, 95 

Mantegna, Andrea, 76; 31 
Marches, 44 
Marsala, 108 
Marseilles, 88, 149 
Masaccio, 178; J55, I 
Matisse, Henri, 178 
Mattco di Giovanni, 152 
Mauceri, Enrico, 70 
Maxentius, 82, 83 
Maximian, 82 
Mazzara del Vallo, 108 
Cathedral, 84 
Melville, Herman, 140 
Messina, 66-73, 74, 142 
Cathedral, 68, 120; 46 
Church of the Catalani, 68 
Fountain of Orion, 68; 45 
National Museum, 70 
Palazzata, 67-8; 44 
Straights of, 43 

Michelangelo, 27, 30, 68, 86, 174, 176, 177--J 
184, 186; 16, 133, 134, 161, 162 
Milan, 72 

Museo Poldi Pezzoli, 56" 

Mileto, 148 
Mino da Ficsole, 173 
Modena Cathedral, 188 
Modica, 96, 98 
San Giorgio, 70 
Mohammed II, 60 
Mola, 74; 5 2 

Monaco, Lorenzo, 174, 178, 180-1; 136, 137 


Monreale, 64, 1 14-17, 119, 126 
Cathedral, 1 14-16; 92 
Church of the Annunciation, 116-17 
Cloister of the Benedictines, 93, 94 
Museum, 116 
Monsu, 48 

Montorsoli, Giovanni Angelo, 68; 43 
Morelli, Giovanni, 38 
Mormanno, 158 
Moses, 34; 16 
Mussolini, Benito, 50 

Naples, 64, 66, 126, 140, 158, 159 
Museum, 86 
Santa Chiara, 154 
Nicastro, 150 
Nicholas of Verdun, 64 
Noto, 95-6 

Church of the Crucifixion, 96 
Palazzo Villadorato, 68 

Odescalchi Chigi family, 28; 12 
Orlandi, Deodato, 114 
Ortygia, 88 
Ostia, 36 

Cardo degli Aurighi, 17 
Otranto Cathedral, 156 

Paestum, 64, m, 160 
Paiazzolo Acreide, 70, 88 
Chiesa dei Minori Osscrvanti, 88; 42, 62 
Palermo, 73, 79, 80, 85, 112, 113-28, 148; 102, 
103 

Cappella Palatina, 64, 114; 91 
Cathedral, 119, 1 26; 9S , 103 
Monte Pellegrino, 128; 104, 103 
Municipio, 120 

National Museum (Museum of Antique Art), 
1 17; 61,93, 96 
Opera House, 124 
Oratory of San Lorenzo, 1 20 
Palazzo Abbatelli, 193 1 97 
Palazzo Butera, 126 
Palazzo Rcalc, 114; 90 
Palazzo Sclafani, 120 
Palazzo della Zisa, 1 22; 101 
Quattro Canti, 124 



Palermo, contd. 

San Francesco, 120 
Villa Igea hotel, 113 
Palestrina, 23, 184; 162 
Mosaic, 31,8 6 
Museum, 193; 13 
Temple of Fortune, 7 
Palinuro headland, 160 
Palladian architecture, 38 
Palmyra, 137 
Paola, 151-2 

Paris, 20, 70, 72, 118, 148, 158, 166 
Louvre, 44, 86; 25 
Orangcrie, 174 
StdOenis, 60 

Pater, Walter Horatio, 176, 177 
Pepoli, Count Agostino, 112 
Perga mon school, 178 
Perugia, 80 
Cathedral, 86 

Cathedral Museum (not University), 59 
Piazza Armerina, 80, 81, 88, 193 
Environs, see Casale 
Pienza, 85 

Piero della Francesca, 71, 166 
Pinturicchio, 27 

Pisano, Nino, school of, 112; $7, 88 

Placci, Carlo, 80, 96 

Platen, Count August von, 95, 148 

Plemyrion, 90 

Poggi, Giovanni, 173, 174 

Policastro gulf, 159 

Pollaiuolo, Antonio, 71 

Pollino mountain, 156, 158 

Pompeii, 25, 66 

Pomposa, 167; 194 

Ponte Molle, 82 

Pontormo, Jacopo da, 174 

Praia a Mare, 158, 159 

Procacci, Ugo, 171, 172, 190 

Proust, Marcel, 170 

Pythagoras of Rhcgium, 142 

Ragusa Ibla, 96, 98 
San Giorgio, 69 

Ramadan, Fast of, 130, 132, 138 -9 
Ramagc, Reverend Tate, 147 


Raphael, 86; 11 
Ravenna, 56, 162-4, 165, 168 
Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, 163; 138 , 139 
San Vitale, 163; HI 

Sant’Apollinarc in Classe, 163-4; 1 37 > H 
Tomb of Theodoric, 164 
Regalbuto, 79 
Reggio, 142-5, 149; 123 
Angevin Castle, 142 

National Museum, 142-5; 121, 122 , 123, 124 
Rembrandt, 51, 176 
Renaissance art, 46, 70, 88, 119, 182 
Renoir, Pierre^ Auguste, 33, 52 
Restoration 
of architecture, 20-1 
of paintings, 172-3, 178-80 
Rimini, 165-6 

Tcmpio Malatestiano, 119, 165-6; 140 , 141 
Kivista Misena , 46 
Robbia, Luca della, 182; 160 
Robert, Hubert, 36 
Rococo art, 88, 96 
Roger I of Sicily, 147 
Roger II of Sicily, 114; 90 
Roman Campagna, 18; 3 
Romanesque art, 96, 162, 188 
Rome, 17-36, 48, 50, 64, 130, 154, 158, 166 
Baths of Caracalla, 33; 15 
Campidogho, 30 
Central Station, 137 
Colosseum, 30 
Concordia restaurant, 26 
Forums, 30 
Monte Giordano, 26 
Museo delle Ter me, 31, 33, 86, 92; 14 
Palazzo Sacchctti, 25, 193; 8 , 9 
Palazzo Taverna, 26 
Palazzo Venezia, 34 
Pallavicini Collection, 18 
Piazza del Popolo, 26 
Piazza di. Spagna, 1 8 
Piazza Venezia, 26 
Porta Latina, 18 
Pyramid of Cestius, 18 
Rotonda, 136 

San Giovanni in Laterano, 18 
San Lorenzo fuori le Mura, 22; 6 


198 



San Pietro in Vincoli, 27, 34; 16 
Santa Maria in Aracocli, 26\ 10 
Santa Maria in Cosmedin, 20; 4 
Santa Maria Maggiorc, 2 1 ; 5 
Santa Maria del Popolo, 27; 11, 12 
St Peter's, 24, 30; 2 
Sistine Chapel, 34 
l iber river, 26 
Trinita dci Monti, 30 
Vatican, 85; 2 
Via Appia, 18, 30 
Via Ludovisi, 30 
Via Sistina, 30 
Villa di Livia, 14 
Villa di Papa Giulio, 86 
Vittorio Emmanucle monument, 46 
Ross, Christian, 26 
Rossano Calabro, 154 
Codex Purpureas Rossanntsis , 154 
San Marco, 154; 120 
Santa Maria del Patirion, 156; / ?</, 136 
Rossetti, Dante Gabriel, 176 
Rossi, Filippo, 170 
Rudini, Carlo di, 96 
Ruskin, John, 170 

Sabratha, 74, 82, 132 
Great floor mosaic, 110 
Museum, 132 
Theatre, 132; log 
Sacconi, Giuseppe, 46 
Salviati, Francesco, 25; 9 
San Francesco del Descrto, 39; * 9 . 20 
Sangincto, Filippo, 154; 133 
Sankt Florian, 1 12 
San Prisco, 64 
Sansovino, Andrea, 27 

Scandicci, San Martino alia Palma, 190-2; 166, 
168 

Sciacca, 106; So 
Palazzo ‘Lo Stcripinto’, Si 
Segesta, 64, 1 11-12, 113, 160; 83, 86 
Selinunte, 64, 106-8, ir8; 82 , 95, g6 
Selinus, see Selinunte 
Serpotta, Giacomo, 120 
Seume, Johann Gottfried, 95 
Seurat, Georges, 24-5 


Shelley, Percy Bysshe, 90, 108 
Sibiu Museum, 48 
Siena, 80, 152 
Palazzo Tolomei, 154 
Signorelli, Luca, 86 
Sila plateau, 152 
Sinibaldi, Giulia, 185 
Spellman, Cardinal Francis Joseph, 54 
Spczzano Albanese, 154 
Strabo, 160 
Sumerian art, 188 
Sybaris, 156 

Symonds, John Addington, 147 
Syracuse, 64, 88-95, no 
Achradina, 90 
Cathedral, 90, 9-; 66 

Classical Museum, see Musco Archaeologico 

Cyanc, 90 

Epipolae, 90 

Fort of Euryelus, 90, 1 30 

Fort Labdalon, 63 

Greek theatre, 90, 1 30 

Medieval Museum, see Palazzo Bellomo 

Museo Archaeologico, 90, 92; 67 

Palazzo Bellomo, 90, 92; 63 

Palazzo Landolino, 94 

Spring of Arethusa, 90; 64 

Temple of Athena, 90; 66 

Tancred of Hauteville, 147 
Tancrcdi, Tancrcdo, 152 
Taormina, 73 6, 80; 52 
Greek theatre, 73, 74, 75; 30 
Taranto, » 5 r, 158 
Telesio, Bernardino, 152 
Tcrranova di Sibari, 154 
Theocritus, 106 
Thucydides, 74 
Tiepolo, Giovanni Battista, 38 
Tino di Cainaino, 173; i$o 
Follower of, 154 

Tintoretto, 38, 48, 51-2; 30, 31, 32 
Titian, 38, 48, 54, 5 6*33 
Torcello, 56-8 
Cathedral, 34 
Santa Fosca, 54, 35 
Trapani, 108, no-11, 112 


199 



Trapani, contd. 

Museo Pepoli, 112; 89 
Optician at, no 

Santuario della Santissima Annunziata, 112; 

8 7 , 88 

Trescorc, 43 
Oratorio Suardi, 23 
Tripoli, 130-2, 137-40 
Arch of Marcus Aurelius, 137; 116 
Castcllo, 139-40; 106 , 11 7, 118, 1 19 
Lungomare, 130 
Museum, see Castcllo 
Oasis of Tagiura, 140 
Sanict Volpi, 130-2; 107, 108 

Uccello, Paolo, 171, 178, 188; 146, 163 
IJdine, 159 
U rhino, 88 

Vallo di Lucania, 159 
Vallombrosa, 162 
Vasari, Giorgio, 188 
Vcblcn, Thorstcin, 53 
Vecchictta, 27 
Velasquez, 160 
Velia, 160 

Vcncziani, Cavalicrc, 82 
Venice, 37-64, 72, 168 
Accademia, 64; 40 
Campo San Moisc, 48; 28, 29 
Correr, 70, 71 
Dogana, 52 
Doge’s Palace, 53, 60 
Fenice, 52 
Gesuid, 56; 33 

Giorgio Cini Foundation, see San Giorgio 
Maggiorc 


Grand Canal, 48, 60 
Lagoon of, 19, 20 , 34 , 33 
Pala d’Oro, 64; 41 
Piazza, 52, 60 
Piazzetta, 52, 60 
San Cassiano, 72 

San Giorgio Maggiorc, 41-2, 53; 21, 22 
San Marco, 54, 58-64; 18 , 36 , 57, 38 , 39, 40 , 
V 

Scuola di San Rocco, 5 t ; 30, 31, 32 
Verga, Giovanni, 78 

Vergara Caffarelli, Ernesto, 132, 134, T36, 139; 
111 

Veronese, Paolo, 38 
Victor Emmanuel III, 108 
Villa San Giovanni, 66 
Virgil, 106 
Vittoria, 95, 98 
Madonna dclle Grazic, 77 
Public gardens, 98 
Teatro Comunale, 31 
Volpi, Giuseppe, 130 

Wanderlust, 75 

Washington, D.C., 70, 73, 17s 
Watteau, Antoine, 20 
Whistler, James Abbott McNeill, so 
Wharton, Edith New bold, 78 
William II of Sicily, 94 
Willmore, Arthur, 7J 
Wordsworth, William, 74 
Wright, Frank Lloyd, 48 

Xcnodochiophobia, 66 

Zanotti Bianco, 160 
Zampetti, Pietro, 40 




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